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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Distracted Driving-Danger on Our Roads: Watch out for the Bagpipe Guy!

5 comments

Many InjuryBoard members have posted blogs about the new and dangerous trend of "texting while driving". 14 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books, banning this practice. Most recently, InjuryBoard’s terrific National News Desk Editor, Jane Akre, penned an article on these pages entitled "Federal Ban Proposed on Texting While Driving".

This morning, as I was reviewing material for a blog post, I came across this little article in the ABA Journal.

The article indicates that drivers, talking on their mobile phones are as likely to be involved in an accident as someone with a .08 alcohol level (at or almost at the legal limit of a DUIL in many states). It names coffee (by the way, how many of you have seen clips from or seen the in-progress "Hot Coffee-The Movie"? If you haven’t, go to their website at www.hotcoffeethemovie.com and make a donation to this important project), hot soup, and tacos as the most dangerous food items. It asks the question:

What is the craziest thing you’ve seen someone do while driving?

The article does not provide the answer; it merely poses the question. But, as a special favor to all IB members, I got my hands on some of the "featured answers" to the ABA’s question. While they are unbelievable and funny, the activities reported are also very dangerous. Here are the top three "featured answers":

Posted by Laura: "I was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Philadelphia, and I saw a man playing the bagpipes while driving. It was crazy!"

Posted by David D.: "Playing the trumpet!! On my way back to Champaign, IL, two years ago, I saw a man practicing the trumpet while he was driving on 57 South. We immediately took out a camera and snapped a pic."

Posted by Tom: "I saw a driver playing the flute on GA400 in Atlanta. For a brief moment I thought perhaps he was using it to control his car. Maybe he and David D’s trumpet player can start a band!"

In the context of playing two-handed musical instruments while driving, texting while driving seems like moderately dangerous activity. Are there laws on the books (or being proposed) that prevent other forms of distracted driving? Do any IB members know the answer to this question?

Lawsuit Financial is a leading provider of auto accident legal finance services all over the country; the company strongly supports the proposed national ban on texting while driving. We provide auto accident lawsuit funding to people who are injured or disabled in an accident and suffer financial setbacks as a result. As a provider of litigation funding services, we benefit, indirectly, from the filing of lawsuits. Accidents and injuries result in lawsuits; investing in lawsuits is how we make our living. As such, we do not derive an economic benefit from promoting texting bans or other safety measures. We support such safety measures because it is the right thing to do; the safety of our citizens is important to us and to every trial lawyer who has ever represented a seriously injured person or the estate of their deceased loved ones. It is time for all of us to stand up for safety.

Hopefully, each state already has laws or will pass laws against other forms of distracted driving. Better yet, maybe other forms of distracted driving will be inculded in any national ban legislation. In my wildest nightmare, I never thought we needed laws prohibiting the playing of musical instruments while driving; I figured that common sense would suggest that these are extremely dangerous activities, not only to drivers, but to others they may encounter on the road. All I can say is: be careful out there; watch out for the bagpipe guy!

5 Comments

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Very interesting and thought provoking piece. Thanks for the article.

  2. Jon Lewis says:
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    Great Thought! I just posted this question on Facebook and Twitter. There are always the typical: reading, makeup, dogs in front seat etc. But, I’m interested to see the really crazy ones. I hope this gets people engaged.

  3. Mark Bello says:
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    Can anyone comment on what laws currently exist in your respective states that limit or punish activities that would constitute “distracted driving”? If so, please comment. Thanks

  4. Jon Lewis says:
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    Let’s try that one more time:

    Alabama Reckless Driving:

    Section 32-5A-190
    Reckless driving.

    (a) Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving.

    (b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished upon a first conviction by imprisonment for a period of not less than five days nor more than 90 days, or by fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and on a second or subsequent conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 10 days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and the court may prohibit the person so convicted from driving a motor vehicle on the public highways of this state for a period not exceeding six months, and the license of the person shall be suspended for such period by the Director of Public Safety pursuant to Section 32-5A-195.

    (c) Neither reckless driving nor any other moving violation under this chapter is a lesser included offense under a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    (Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §9-101.)