Officials Grade States on Distracted Driving Enforcement

You know that distracted driving is dangerous, but did you realize that those hands-free devices in your car are just as dangerous? That’s right. According to The Street, hands-free phones are just as distracting as holding a phone to your ear.
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“‘Hands-free’ is not risk free,” says David Strayer, who recently studied distracted driving for AAA.

Our Highland car accident lawyers understand that people feel that they need to be connected 24/7. At the same time, we’re forgetting how important it is that we’re safe 24/7, too. And that’s why officials with the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) are working to focus on each state’s efforts to crack down on distracted driving. Sure, national ads and campaigns are great, but it’s true that local and state awareness, education and enforcement are just as (if not more) successful.

According to the recent report, “2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States,” much of today’s focus on distracted driving centers on the use of cell phones behind the wheel and our growing dependency on these versatile devices. From simple conversations to text messaging to mobile information sources, hand-held cell phone technology is an attractive answer to many of our mobile lifestyle needs. At the same time, rapidly advancing communication and information processing technologies have continued to capture the attention and spending of American consumers.

Officials with GHSA surveyed states in 2012 to see exactly out how they were responding to this significant safety issue. And the results were alarming.

According to the report, the state of Indiana did include distracted driving in its state strategic highway safety plan. Unfortunately, the report also found out that there was a lack of funding for enforcement, as well as a lack of funding for media, campaign materials and enforcement support. It also found there is not a strong enough law on the books to discourage this dangerous behavior.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), only drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a handheld cell phone while driving. On the other hand, all drivers are banned from text messaging. But how is an officer supposed to be able to tell if you were dialing a phone number (legal) or typing a text message to send (illegal)? You see that officers have a tough time determining which act is taking place and therefor have a tough time enforcing these rules.

Until lawmakers step up with stricter laws and tougher enforcement efforts, driver won’t feel the need to hang up. That’s why we’re turning to you, asking for your help in the battle against distracted driving. Step up, put the phone down (or bluetooth headset) and help to improve roadway safety for everyone. Keep your attention on the road at all times. Sharing that attention with a phone just isn’t worth the risks.

Attorney Burton A. Padove represents auto accident victims. If you or a loved one has been injured, call (219) 836-2200 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Car Accident Fatalities on the Rise, NHTSA Reports, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, June 26, 2013

Indiana Traffic Collisions and Rise of the Smartphone, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, June 23, 2013