Why Are We Allowed To Text While Driving?

Distracted driving caused over 90,000 collisions in Texas in 2012, resulting in 453 fatalities and 18,468 serious injuries — up a shocking 4% over the year before. Texting and driving is six times more likely to cause a wreck than drinking and driving.

The Texas Legislature banned this deadly practice in 2011, but Governor Perry inexplicably vetoed the bill. As a result, we are one of the only remaining states that mostly allows people to drive and text. Texas only bans drivers from texting if they are younger than 18, driving a bus, or are driving in or near a school zone. Arlington and Denton are the only cities in the Metroplex that always prohibit this dangerous practice.

Ever notice how many people in the next car are looking down at their phones as you are driving? We always subpoena the other driver’s cell phone records.

A New York prosecutor unveiled a program yesterday that would reduce — and hopefully stop — texting and driving. It’s about time.

Nassau County, New York District Attorney Kathleen Rice called on smartphone makers to install software of cell phones that would block use if it detects a vehicle is moving. Why isn’t this already a standard feature? A distracted driver is 23 times more likely to crash, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Rice requested that insurance companies offer incentives and discounts for customers who get the app.The DA added that her office will seek sentences that require such software blocking technology for persons who have been convicted of any offense involving a texting violation. She also wants law enforcement officers to crack down on motorists and called for a massive public awareness campaign.

Who are the most guilty offenders? No surprise, it’s our 15 to 19 year olds. This is a horrendous problem. In 2010, about 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16-19 were killed and almost 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes. And while young people ages 15-24 only represent only 14% of the U.S. population, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total annual costs of motor vehicle injuries among males. Allowing our most inexperienced drivers to take their eyes off the road and check their iPhones is obviously a terrible idea.

The only way that people who are injured by these negligent drivers can recover their damages is to hire an attorney and pursue a claim and possibly file a lawsuit. By doing so, they will recover their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. Retaining an attorney will increase the payment by at least three times and is highly recommended.

I applaud Ms. Rice for her bold proposals and hope that they are implemented. We have to make our roads safer. Here are some previous posts on the topic.

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