As a personal injury lawyer who focuses on car accident law, I have seen all kinds of accidents on the road. “Accident” is a broad term that implies an unexpected calamity. In many cases, however, there is a specific driver at fault. Often, the fault is directly related to a distracted driver.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
There are several kinds of distracted driving activities that can put you and your vehicle at risk on the road. Changing the music, searching for directions, or maybe even gazing out of your window are all classic examples of dangerous behavior behind the wheel. Of the hundreds of mindless driving practices, there is one problem we all know is a major issue for motorists –texting and driving.
Humans have been hitting the road for well over a century, but in the last 20 years we have seen texting and driving become the cause of one in four crashes in the United States. An average of nine people are killed every day from car accidents caused by texting and driving.
Why isn’t texting and driving illegal?
47 states have a ban on texting while driving. Washington was the first state to pass an official ban in 2007, and almost every state has followed suit since then. However, I don’t think official restrictions are enough to curb this problem. Speeding is illegal all over the country, yet we know that people still speed.
Cellphone use while driving needs to be treated as the highest threat to driver safety today; but is enough being done to keep unsafe drivers off the roads?
The effort to raise awareness to stop texting and driving is already a massive endeavor that has been going growing for years. There are hundreds of campaigns working to convince people to stay off the phone while on the road.
Unfortunately, some people just don’t care. We know cigarettes are a threat to a person’s health, but people still smoke no matter how many anti-smoking campaigns they see or hear.
Where Do We Go From Here?
There are constantly new laws being proposed at the state and federal level to impact how we govern texting while driving. However, changing the law is a very slow-moving process. Most bills never make an impact.
There is a new device that may be a deterrent to those that think they can text and drive: the Textalyzer. This device is to texting and driving what breathalyzers are for drunk driving.
This somewhat controversial device could tell whether a driver was texting or not at the time of a crash. Further, it shows what time you were typing, what time you made calls, and even what time you opened an app. Obviously, this wouldn’t stop drivers from texting and driving, but it would bring justice to cases where an accident occurred because of a driver’s negligence.
It is not a surprise that there is some heavy opposition to this device. It’s like the red-light camera on your phone. The Textalyzer is starting to gain some momentum in law enforcement and may one day be a standard device in every highway patrol car.
Just Don’t Do It
If there is one piece of advice I can give, it would be to just say no to distracted driving. When you take your eyes off the road, you put everyone around you at risk. It’s important to remember that driving a vehicle means you are responsible for navigating thousands of pounds of steel across a field of concrete. This is a high-risk situation, even with your undivided attention! I encourage drivers to speak up and stand up to those who use their phone while driving.
Jared Staver is a personal injury lawyer based out of Chicago at Staver Law Group, P.C.. Jared focuses primarily on car accident injury cases and has nearly twenty years of experience within the Illinois legal industry.