Putting the Brakes on Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has become a serious state-wide and national concern in the last ten years as mobile devices have become accessible to people across generations. Recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported as far back as 2008 that driver distraction was the primary cause of sixteen percent of all injuries resulting in a fatality, and over twenty percent of all crashes resulting in an injury.
Despite this growing trend, there is a lack of significant legislation in many states like Florida to tackle this growing problem. According to the American Automobile Association close to half of all teen drivers admit to texting while driving, putting an already vulnerable group at an even higher risk of personal or property damage.
Currently 39 states, DC and Guam have banned text messaging for all drivers, no matter the graduated licensing. 5 additional states prohibit messaging just by novice drivers. Legislation curbing talking on the phone however has been much slower in being implemented with only 10 states, DC, Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibiting using handheld cell phones while driving.
Florida is currently one of only a handful of states such as Kentucky, Louisiana Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Nevada whose preemption laws prohibit municipal localities from passing their own distracted driving bans. Since there is a lack of direction from the government on enforceable prevention, preserving life is our shared responsibility.
Fortunately countries across the world have been taking the lead on preventative models. With the exception of Sweden, Switzerland and Iceland- 24 EU member states have banned all handheld mobile phone use, with over half of EU member states targeting cell phone use via special motorbike enforcement units in conjunction with one-day campaigns. Even still with punitive measures in force the amount of tickets issued with respect to mobile device violations has continued outnumber traditional safety infractions on the road in these countries. In addition a driver society much more similar to ours, Canada has seen a successful implementation of distracted driving laws without too much difficulty or resistance from the population, how effective this is at putting the brakes on texting and driving over the long term still remains to be seen.
Thankfully there has been a response on a grass roots level across the United States with a push to provide preventative measures such as distracted driving education, activities for beginning drivers. With the US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood making distracted driving a top safety priority we can take some comfort that we can reduce the risk of serious personal injury in automobiles. Remember, texting and driving is just simply not worth it!
If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact us today at Payer & Associates. We can help you get compensation for your injuries.