Is A Complete Ban On All Forms of Cell Phone Usage The Next Logical Step?
Tuesday a 45-year-old truck driver crashed in Munfordville, Kentucky crossing a 60-foot-wide median and a cable barrier system before hitting a van of 12 people, killing himself and 10 others.
The cause of this accident has been attributed to cell phone usage including calls and texts and drowsiness. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has responded by recommending that commercial drivers be prohibited from using all forms of mobile phones while driving on the job.
The recommendation is just that, a recommendation. It does not have the effects that a law would, but if history is correct it will be the beginning of legislation that closely mirrors the ideas of the NTSB. Truckers have already been banned from texting while driving but they are allowed to use hands-free mobile phones.
Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol and it seems to be a more prevalent practice as well. If someone brags about driving drunk there would be a great amount of disapproval among his/her peers; but if you talk about texting while driving the only people who might comment are parents. Texting is new technology for older generations, which is why this is a problem mainly among the ages of 18-24. According to a Nationwide Insurance study at any given time, between 20% and 66% of drivers in that age range are texting while driving.
In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in the U.S. because of accidents that involved distracted driving. Another 448,000 were injured. According to Distraction.gov distracted driving is “any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.” The numbers of distracted driving accidents have gone up by 6% in 4 years and it can only be expected that they jump even higher as phones begin to turn into mini computers on the road. Having a smart phone is no different than operating a laptop while driving. If people saw the latter while driving they would scoff at the absurdity while they posted a new status update about it.
Saying you can text and drive because you can multi-task or you are just good at it is no different than someone claiming to be an expert at driving under the influence. The two are one in the same. They impair your judgment and reaction time, they distort what is going on around you and they take your attention off of the road and the other drivers around you.
The ban on texting and driving needs to extend to all distracted driving and should not be limited to just commercial licenses nor should it exclude them. The bigger the vehicle, the harder it is to gain back control once it is lost. Driving distracted is the most common way of losing control of the vehicle you are operating. No message, nothing you want to say is more important than your life and the lives of those around you. Driving is all about trust. Trusting that the person in the car next to you will stay in his or her own lane, trusting that the car in front of you isn’t going to throw it into reverse and plow over you. Earn and keep the trust given to you with the privileges of driving. Do not drive distracted.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a distracted driving accident contact the accident attorneys at Christensen Law Firm to find out what options are available to you. Call us today at 801-506-0800.