Texting While Driving Accidents

The PHILLIPS|GARCIA top five distracted driving problems in Massachusetts:

Texting While Driving Accidents is the subject of this page-

Dialing A Cell Phone While Driving

Reading or Sending E-Mail While Driving
Searching the Internet While Driving

Using GPS While Driving

What is distracted driving?  Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that has the potential to distract the driver from the primary task of driving and which increases the risk of crashing.

Other distracting activities include (in no particular order of danger):

Grooming

Eating or drinking

Reading, including maps

Talking to passengers

Changing the radio station

The Big 3 Reasons Why Distracted Driving is so Dangerous:

Visual Impairment – It take your eyes off the road.

Loss of Manual Control – It takes your hands off the wheel.

Cognitive Loss – It takes your mind off driving  safely.

Distracted Driving Affects Lives

Distracted driving can present serious and potentially deadly dangers to the driver, passengers and others sharing the road. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (Source: Fatality Analysis Reporting System).

While these numbers are significant, they may not state the true size of the problem, since the identification of distraction and its role in a crash can be very difficult to determine using only police-reported data.

Other significant statistics about distracted driving include the following:

 Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get you into an accident than drivers who are not.  (Source: Transportation Institute of Virginia Polytech)

Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (Source: Nat’l Hgwy Transportation Safety Assoc)

Massachusetts’ and New England’s Legal Approach to Distracted Driving

In Massachusetts, a law prohibiting texting while driving came into effect on September 30, 2010. The Massachusetts law carries a $100 fine for first time violations. It prohibits using a mobile phone or handheld device to write, send or read text messages, emails and instant messages or to access the internet while operating the vehicle.  The law applies even while you are stopped in traffic.  If there is an accident caused while violating the law, your license can be suspended for 60 days for a first offense.

Currently, the five other states in New England (Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) all have laws prohibiting some form of distracted driving. For example, Rhode Island has a ban on all texting while driving, while Connecticut prohibits the use of all handheld devices while driving (so this would include handheld cell phones) and all texting while driving.

The Federal Government’s Actions to Address Distracted Driving

There are no federal laws prohibiting distracted driving at this time. Instead, it is up to each individual state to pass laws banning distracted driving. However, in 2009, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood announced an aggressive Administration-wide effort to combat distracted driving.

Not only were various restrictions on the use of cell phones and hand held devices placed on federal employees while operating federal equipment, Secretary LaHood pledged to continue the Department’s research on how to best combat distracted driving. As part of this pledge, the Department launched a new demonstration program to evaluate techniques that states can use to get the most out of their efforts to end this destructive behavior.

“Keeping Americans safe is without question the federal government’s highest priority – and that includes safety on the road, as well as on mass transit and rail,” said Secretary LaHood. “I’m greatly encouraged by the work accomplished at this summit. Working together, we’re going to make sure that traveling in America is as safe as it can possibly be and I strongly encourage the public to take personal responsibility for their behavior and show a healthy respect for the rules of the road.”  (See the full text of Secretary LaHood’s 2009 Press Release right here).

The Department didn’t stop at just passing some initiatives and launching some studies. Recognizing that there are faces behind all of the statistics, Secretary LaHood launched the “Faces of Distracted Driving” video series where the parents, siblings, loved-ones and friends could tell the heart-breaking true stories of people tragically affected by distracted drivers.

Take Action Now

If you, a loved one or a friend has been injured because of a distracted driver, you should seek out an experienced accident lawyer when considering representation in your case. Your distracted driving accident case requires a specialized Massachusetts SouthCoast distracted driving accident attorney.

Contact Phillips & Garcia Today to Schedule Your FREE Legal Consultation

If you have been seriously injured in a distracted driving collision or car accident in Massachusetts, start your fight today. Meet with us to discuss your best legal options for pursing compensation. Tell us your story. Call us toll free at (888) 449-5343 or complete our online contact form to request a FREE evaluation of your case.