Distracted driving has been a danger to drivers for many years but it seems to be more of a focus for government officials now that cell phone use has become commonplace behind the wheel.
Boston drivers might ask themselves, is cell phone use (handheld or hands free) the primary distraction relating to Massachusetts automobile accidents?
Our Boston personal injury lawyers know distraction is one of the leading causes of serious and fatal accidents in Massachusetts. But there is a growing debate about whether the crash data supports the focus on cell phone use and text messaging when it comes to distracted driving, according to a recent article in USA Today.
Distracted driving has always been a cause for accidents; it just seems the awareness is now there more than in the past. Over the past five years, studies have shown that fatal accidents associated with driving distracted have gone from 10% in 2005 to 16% in 2009.
Last September the NHTSA did an analysis of 7,000 crashes. They found that 30% of crashes were a result of at least one of 14 sources of distracted driving found in a vehicle.
Texting did not appear to be a factor in any of the 7,000 crashes analyzed. This is ironic, considering the number of monthly text messages sent has increased from 7 billion in 2005 to 173 billion in 2010.
In the 7,000-crash study, 16% of the crashes were reportedly due to talking to another passenger; talking, hanging up, or dialing accounted for 3.4% of the crashes; and looking at other objects in the car accounted for 3.2%.
Perhaps the auto-making industry could be held somewhat accountable for distracted driving. In a period in which vehicles come equipped with so many gadgets, bells, and whistles, it is difficult not to become distracted while driving. Despite the phone-related technology that most vehicles come equipped with, the automakers have taken a stand in support of state legislatures to ban all cell phones and texting devices. And to make it a primary offense in each state. However, restricting hands-free calls is not something they are in support of.
Focus Driven is an advocate group celebrating their one year anniversary on the fight against cell phone use while driving. Though their goal is not to punish drivers, their message is to make a choice. Choose to put the safety and well-being of those around you more important than texting or talking on the cell phone.
Child safety advocates want the focus to be put back on children rather than so much emphasis on distracted driving. The 2009 data showed that child fatalities for those under age 14 were down 3%, however, ages 1-6 deaths were up 18 percent.
Using state funding to put the focus back on safety belts and child restraints is equally as important as using monetary resources to govern distracted driving and cell phone bans. Drivers and families who use common sense, regardless of the law, will be best able to avoid a serious or fatal accident.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have experienced attorneys ready to work for you. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Boston automobile accident, call our toll free number to make a free appointment at 1-877-617-5333. For your convenience, we will travel to you.