Government accused of smoke in mirrors with over focus on distracted driving car accidents

One of the nation’s most prominent highway safety organizations contends the government has gotten sidetracked by safety issues like texting and driving.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the highway safety arm of the insurance industry, claims the government is waging a high-profile campaign against test messaging and runaway Toyotas while doing too little to force automakers to adapt better safety features. Our Boston personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys have reported extensively on the government’s effort to combat texting and cell phone use while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 6,000 motorists are killed and more than 500,000 are injured each year in accidents caused by distracted driving, including driver cell phone use.
The IIHS reports about 100 motorists are killed each day in traffic accidents nationwide.

“You’d think from the media coverage, congressional hearings, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s focus in recent months that separating drivers from their phones would all but solve the public-health problem of crash deaths and injuries,” IIHS President Adrian Lund wrote in the agency’s August status report. “It won’t.”

As the Wall Street Journal points out, car accidents are the number one cause of accidental death in the United States. Naturally, the U.S. Department of Transportation takes issue with the notion that it has been sidetracked.

“Safety is the Department of Transportation’s number one priority, which is why we are aggressively and urgently tackling a number of risks to drivers’ safety,” the DOT said in a statement. “We are going to continue taking drunk drivers off the road, getting people to put down their phones and other distractions, making sure cars and trucks are safe to drive, and doing whatever else is necessary to keep Americans safe behind the wheel.”

While that might be true, the uproar over Toyota consumed the agency earlier this summer. And it has yet to release comprehensive accident statistics for 2009, which are typically released sometime in midsummer each year.

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

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