April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the U.S. Department of Transportation kicked off the month with a first-ever national enforcement and ad campaign. The national campaign now puts distracted driving on par with national efforts to discourage drunk driving and to encourage the use of seat belts. It is an important effort to draw attention to what has become a serious public health problem, with USA Today reporting that cell phone uses causes more than one out of every four motor vehicle collisions.
Victims have the right to take legal action and obtain compensation if a distracted motorist caused a collision. Distracted driving accident lawyers in Phoenix represent individuals who want to obtain coverage for their losses.
Distracted Driving Awareness Campaigns More Important Than Ever
While Arizona’s proposed texting ban, SB 1218, has reportedly been stalled yet again, most drivers know by now that it is dangerous to text and drive. Despite this, more people than ever are using their phones behind the wheel, with deadly consequences. In 2011, 1.3 percent of drivers admitted to manipulating their devices when driving, up from .9 percent in 2010. The use of hand-held cell phones remained steady at about five percent.
As Market Watch reports, just five percent of cellphone related motor vehicle collisions involve texting. The remaining 21 percent involve drivers who are talking on a cellphone, either using a handheld or a hands-free device.
Unfortunately, even if drivers think that using a phone is safer than texting, they are wrong. A driver on a cell phone fails to see as much as 50 percent of information in his environment.
Meanwhile, texting is also increasing in popularity with one out of every three Americans now favoring texting instead of calling. Americans now send an average of 41 texts every single day. However, young people between the ages of 19 and 25 send even more – an average of 110 texts daily.
With so many people using their phones, and with texting becoming more popular, it is a good time for the NHTSA to draw attention to this problem.
The NHTSA’s plans include a national television advertising campaign focused on the phrase “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” The national ads were scheduled to run between April 7and April 14. During this time, law enforcement would also be cracking down in states where texting bans are in effect.
National campaigns have changed behaviors in the past. Click it or Ticket was successful in getting many more people to wear their seat belts for example. Of course, with no texting ban in Arizona, police aren’t going to be able to effectively pull people over and penalize them for texting even though the behavior is undoubtedly dangerous. Currently, 42 states and Washington D.C. have bans or limits on texting in effect. Safety experts recommend a federal ban on all cell phone use while driving including hands-free devices, but there are no viable proposals for such a rule to actually go into effect any time soon. It is motorists who may pay for this failure with their lives.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Israel Law Group at (888) 900-3667 for a confidential consultation.