Our Potosi car accident attorneys continue to be frustrated by the number of distracted driving accidents on Missouri roadways. Cell phone use and text messaging are among the most common distractions for drivers, and consequently, they're also common causes of serious (and totally preventable) accidents. Several states have banned the use of electronic devices while behind the wheel, as evidenced in the above photograph of San Francisco's Interstate 80. However, Missouri's only law related to cell phone use is a texting ban for drivers under age 21. Furthermore, this law is difficult to enforce, as it's nearly impossible to estimate a driver's age from a passing patrol car.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has a message to all drivers: Stop engaging in distracting behaviors. Focus completely on safe driving, and help prevent accidents in southeast Missouri and nationwide.
GHSA's recent report, Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, is designed to inform motorists about the consequences of driver distractions. The report defines distracted driving; outlines the dangers it causes; explains how often drivers are distracted; and suggests countermeasures states can enact to help prevent distracted driving accidents.
The report concluded the following:
• Distractions significantly hinder a driver's performance behind the wheel.
• Drivers are distracted for about half of their time behind the wheel.
• Nearly 30 percent of all accidents are caused by driver distractions.
• Texting increases the risks of an accident more than using a cell phone.
States are urged to adopt the following practices to improve roadway safety:
• Consider constructing center-line and edge-line rumble strips to alert motorists who may have drifted off the road.
• Consider enacting and enforcing a complete ban for newly-licensed drivers on cell phone use and text messaging devices.
• Enforce all current distracted driving laws.
• Keep better records of traffic accidents caused by distracted driving.
• Evaluate distracted-driving programs and laws in other states to determine which will work best for their state.
"It is crystal clear that those who try to minimize this dangerous behavior are making a serious error in judgment, especially when half a million people are injured and thousands more are killed in distracted driving accidents," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In 2009, there were approximately 5,500 people killed on U.S. roadways because of accidents that involved a distracted driver. Another 500,000 people were injured throughout the year because of these types of accidents.
35 states (plus Guam and the District of Columbia) have already enacted bans that totally prohibit drivers from texting. In 9 states (plus the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia), all drivers are banned from using hand-held cell phones behind the wheel. Missouri has yet to join this movement. Until then, our southeast Missouri car accident attorneys urge motorists to drive responsibly, and to curb distractions while in motion.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving-related car accident in Potosi, Irondale, or elsewhere in southeast Missouri, contact us toll-free (1-888-777-AUTO) and schedule a free initial consultation in our Cape Girardeau office.
More Blog Entries:
Drive2Life PSA Contest for Teens Aims to Raise Awareness About Distracted Driving Accidents in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and Elsewhere, Southeast Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 18, 2012
NHTSA Pushes Campaign to Reduce Risks of Distraction-Related Car Accidents in Sikeston and Elsewhere, Southeast Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 21, 2011