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Enforcement Programs May go Nationwide to Reduce Risks of Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere

Reducing the number of distracted-driving car accidents in Boston maybe easier than we ever expected. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, both Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut recently experienced significant reductions in distracted driving after both cities conducted pilot projects that measured the effect of increased law enforcement coupled with high-profile public education campaigns.
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“These findings show that strong laws, combined with highly-visible police enforcement, can significantly reduce dangerous texting and cell phone use behind the wheel,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Based on these results, 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.”

Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys recognize the serious, and potentially fatal consequences of distracted driving. Reducing this behavior can help to prevent a number of traffic fatalities every year. This recent study proves that media campaigns, similar to the highly-successful national seat belt campaign, “Click It or Ticket,” combined with increased police enforcement, can help to stop dangerous driving behavior. These types of traffic accidents, including those caused by distracted driving, are 100 percent preventable and we need everyone’s participation to help save lives on our roadways.

Syracuse and Hartford both stepped up their enforcement game to warn drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. During their increased enforcement efforts, New York saw a decline in handheld cell phone use and texting behind the wheel by roughly one-third. Hartford was fortunate enough to experience nearly a 60 percent drop in handheld device use. The number of texting drivers in Hartford dropped by nearly three-quarters.

“The success of these pilot programs clearly show that combining strong laws with strong enforcement can bring about a sea change in public attitudes and behavior,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “We applaud the work of the men and women of the Syracuse and Hartford police forces, and call on state legislatures, law enforcement and safety advocates across the nation to follow their lead.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided that they’re going to make an attempt at taking this project even farther. They would like to test this same three-part formula on an even bigger scale. They’re going to push tough laws, strong enforcement and ongoing public awareness, but at the state-wide level.

Nearly 5,500 people died in traffic accidents that involved a distracted driver in 2009 alone. Another 500,000 people suffered injuries as a result of these incidents. Distracted-driving related deaths accounted for nearly 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2009.

Currently, there are 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam that have already enacted texting bans. Nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have enacted laws that prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

In Massachusetts, school bus drivers and those who are 18-years-old and younger are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. All drivers are banned from texting while driving a vehicle.

If you have been injured in a Boston car accident, contact Massachusetts Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Massachusetts Car Accidents Continue to be Caused by Cell Phones, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2011

Fewer Distracted Driving Accidents in Massachusetts Could Result from National Distracted Driving Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 1, 2011