Distracted Driving Accident
Today, cell phones are often a person’s only telephone line and a primary means of communicating not just in phone calls, but also in sharing documents, writing e-mails, and sending text messages. As we become more dependent on our cell phones, we are more likely to use them even in situations where their use is dangerous – such as behind the wheel of a car. Read the rest »
There are three main types of distraction that a driver can fall victim to, all of which have their own dangers and can result from use of a cell phone while driving. These types of distractions are: Read the rest »
One of the states shying away from a complete ban is Missouri, where a 2010 crash caused by a cell-phone-chatting 19-year-old in a pickup truck involved a tractor-trailer and two school buses, and caused multiple deaths and injuries. Since the crash, Missouri has had bills introduced in its state legislature to ban cell phone use behind the wheel. The bills were filibustered. Read the rest »
Even though the vast majority of U.S. states ban text messaging while driving to address distracted driving risks, an Ad Council study reports a whopping 82 percent of young drivers, between 16 and 24 years old, have engaged in this dangerous activity. And it’s not only the younger demographic who are distracted behind the wheel: approximately 20 percent of all accidents involving injury in 2009 were reportedly caused by distraction. However, like all reckless behavior, distracted driving can be prevented with a combination of awareness and good choices. Below are five tips, picked from recommendations by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
- Never use your phone or any other hand held device while driving. Not only is it illegal, but research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows drivers who use hand held devices are four times as likely to get into accidents severe enough to cause injury. The University of Utah also determined that using a cell phone (regardless of whether it’s hands free or not) compromises a driver’s response time to the same extent as being legally drunk with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. So switch off your ringer. Read the rest »
However, when it comes to deciding what to do to decrease distracted driving, researchers and policymakers are uncertain. This is because there’s very little research on what kinds of policies actually decrease distracted driving risks. At least one study indicates that banning handheld cell phone use actually increases the risk of an accident, as drivers may attempt to conceal their cell phone use while driving, a task that takes additional attention away from the road. Read the rest »
In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban drivers from sending cell phone text messages – or “texting” – while driving a motor vehicle. Since then, over 36 states have passed similar bans in response to an increase in distracted driving accidents, as well as the general growing concern about distracted driving.
In 2010, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) compiled a report on the many different methods states are using to combat distracted driving. Popular methods include
passing laws to ban or limit common distractions like cell phone use and launching education campaigns to warn teens learning to drive and other drivers that distracted driving can have serious, even deadly, consequences. Read the rest »
The majority of states in the U.S. have placed limits on the use of cell phones and other handheld devices by drivers, and Washington is no exception. Cell phone driving laws like Washington’s are designed to cut down on the number of accidents caused by distracted driving by limiting the amount of distraction a cell phone can cause.
According to the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Washington is one of nine U.S. states that ban all drivers from using a handheld cell phone while driving. Drivers may, however, use a hands-free device to talk on their phones, as long as they are driving with a full-fledged Washington state driver’s license. Washington drivers who are still using a learner’s permit or an intermediate license, however, may not use a cell phone at all while driving. These novice drivers should find a place to park off the road before using a cell phone. Read the rest »
A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representative that would set federal standards for using cell phones while driving and may ban their use altogether in many situations, according to a recent article in The Detroit Free Press.
The bill is called the Safe Drivers Act of 2011. Introduced by U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, it would require the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to create regulations that ban the use of cell phones while driving except in certain emergency and similar situations. The bill does not ban the use of hands-free devices to talk on cell phones while driving, however. If the bill passes, states will have two years to change their laws to meet the DOT standards or will risk losing up to 25 percent of their federal highway funding. Read the rest »
In June 2010, Washington’s legislature made a law that prohibited sending texts or emails on a cell phone while driving into a primary offense, meaning that police could ticket people who violated the law without first having to stop them for another violation, like an illegal lane change or a broken taillight. Since the change a year ago, the Washington State Patrol has issued 6,850 tickets to drivers violating the law, a huge increase from the 1,344 tickets issued before texting became a primary offense.
The law also prohibits holding a cell phone to one’s ear while driving, though drivers can talk on their phones if they use a hands-free device. Drivers who are under age 18 may not use a cell phone in any way while driving, even if it is hands-free. Read the rest »
In February of 2010, 19 year old Heather was killed instantly one month after her birthday, as her car left the roadway south of Tumwater, struck a guardrail and tumbled into a ditch. She was texting a friend in the minutes before the crash. Again in February of this year, a two-year old female passenger was injured during a collision in Thurston County when the 29-year old driver left the roadway, drove into the shoulder and struck a parked pick up head on. This driver was also texting.
These unfortunate drivers were not alone, even with the texting and driving laws, thousands of people are injured or killed every year while texting or being otherwise distracted. That’s why it’s good to remind ourselves and our teenage drivers that when you’re in the car – keep your hands off the phone. Remember, if you’re driving on the freeway, you can travel more than the length of a football field in the time it takes to simply read a short text message or dial a number. Read the rest »