It’s not an uncommon sight. We’ve all driven down the road only to look out our window into the next lane and notice a driver texting while operating their vehicle. In fact, many of us have done it ourselves. Although we know using a cell phone to send texts while driving is dangerous, many of us continue to do it.
However, with more than 16,000 traffic fatalities connected to texting and driving reported between 2001 and 2007, the texting while driving trend may soon change.
States are taking more and more measures to prevent distracted driving. From modifications addressing legislation, education and enforcement techniques, many states including New York and New Jersey may soon see this new social norm become socially unacceptable.
Changes Addressing Texting While Driving
There are many ways to discourage texting while driving. Two of the most common involve increasing awareness through education and making the practice illegal through legislative measures.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has implemented an educational program in an attempt to increase awareness of the dangers associated with texting while driving. Unfortunately, awareness of the danger doesn’t always translate into reduced use. The National Institute of Health conducted a survey of young adult drivers and found that 90 percent of these teenagers admit to texting while driving even though they realize it’s dangerous.
As a result, legislators hope laws making the practice illegal will provide the needed deterrent. In many states, like New York, it is illegal to text and drive. In fact, Governor Cuomo signed a law strengthening enforcement of the offense in 2011, allowing police officers to pull over drivers they suspect are texting.
New Jersey also takes texting while driving seriously. The state is considering a measure that classifies the act as “reckless.” If passed, drivers could be charged with vehicular homicide or assault for injuries connected to texting and driving – charges more commonly associated with drunk driving.
Texting while driving can lead to accidents. If you or a loved one is injured by a driver who was texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, compensation may be available to cover medical and rehabilitative costs. As a result, it is wise to contact an experienced distracted driver accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.