State law enforcement officials are reviewing citation data covering the first 90 days since the enactment of a distracted driving law. The law fines motorists $100 for texting and driving in an effort to reduce the risk of Boston car accidents. Meanwhile, the Insurance Research Council is collecting data for a 30-day review of texting-while-driving habits of U.S. motorists.
According to UPI, as of the 90-day mark Massachusetts police had issued 245 texting citations around the state. Meanwhile, data collected by for the IRC report suggests that across the nation 18 percent of drivers surveyed during that time admitted to texting and driving. That’s one in five. Think about that the next time you’re stuck at a red light and everyone around you is fiddling with their phone.
As our Boston accident attorneys continue to report, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Massachusetts and across the nation.
“These findings confirm that a large number of drivers are engaging in very dangerous behavior,” said IRC Senior V.P. Elizabeth Sprinkle. “The need to find an effective response to this behavior is becoming increasingly clear.”
At least one state lawmaker says that the citation number is admittedly dismally low, but not unexpected. Others say they are surprised it’s so high. It is, after all, a difficult law to enforce. The Boston Globe reports there is some debate regarding the effectiveness of legislation that outlaws a behavior so challenging to spot if practiced with discretion.
And let’s face it, texting can be done covertly. Unfortunately in doing so, the driver only further increases their risk of being involved in a distracted-driving related crash. The Globe reports that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal car accident than non-texters.
At 41 percent, the IRC report revealed that drivers aged 25 to 39 were far more likely than any other age group to admit to texting behind the wheel. Behind them, at 31 percent, were drivers aged 16 to 24. Just 12 percent of drivers 40 to 54 text and drive; and, for drivers 55 and older, that number drops to five percent.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 20 percent of all traffic fatalities – roughly 5,500 people – were killed last year in crashes linked to distracted driving. Another 448,000 were injured.
Advocates of distracted driving laws say it isn’t the number of tickets that are issued that matters, but raising awareness that counts. A AAA Foundation spokesperson told the Boston Globe she thinks that from a public-awareness perspective the campaign is off to a great start.
The Massachusetts car accident attorneys at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers, LLC know that being involved in a serious or fatal Massachusetts traffic accident can be among the most trying experiences of a lifetime. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a Boston car accident, call us at 1.877.617.5333 or email us to schedule a free initial consultation.