Getting tough with distracted driving

As the 2012 legislative session begins all eyes are on the road ahead or should be.

The National Highway Safety Board is making recommendations to enact laws impacting distracted driving, now considered a greater social problem, more dangerous than drunk driving.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) is also prioritizing its legislative efforts in 2012 to focus on distracted driver and teen driver safety.

The AAA’s legislative agenda for 2012 includes advocating laws in every state banning texting while driving, full wireless bans for new teen drivers, and stiffer penalties and fines for drivers committing violations or who crash or cause crashes while driving distracted.

In 2009, AAA launched a national campaign to urge all states to ban texting while driving. In 2011, five states enacted such bans, which raised the total number of states with texting bans to 35. We can do better than that.

States without texting bans include Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia. Pennsylvania’s texting ban will take effect March 8, 2012. Arizona and Florida and other states have bills in the 2012 legislature, whether they pass or not will be a wait and see, as of the time of this blog post.

Here are dire reasons why the government should get tough about distracted driving:

Shocking: the National Safety Council says that drivers using cell phones look but fail to see up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 3,092 deaths in distraction-affected crashes in 2010.

In a national AAA survey of 2,000 drivers, 69 percent reported talking on their cell-phones while driving within the past 30 days and 24 percent admitted to texting or e-mailing while driving.

In a NHTSA observational survey, during a typical daytime moment — 5 percent of drivers were using a handheld cell-phone.

Researchers for the New England Journal of Medicine found that a person using a cell-phone when driving is 4 times more likely to have a crash that will require a hospital visit.

Distracted driving is indeed an epidemic – one that has fatal consequences on the lives of the people you love and the lives of the people you will never know.

If a loved one has suffered at the hands of a distracted driver, please contact Anapol Weiss, Pennsylvania car accident attorneys helping victims of distracted drivers at (866) 735-2792.

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