I have recently posted two blogs about distracted driving and asked InjuryBoard members to comment about their state laws regarding this dangerous conduct. Today, a contributor, Oguz Ozdemir (welcome Oguz, please consider becoming an Injury Board member) posted a blog entitled "How Cell Phones Have Impacted Automobile Accidents". He states that "more than 60 percent of teenagers" use mobile phone while driving and that over "20 percent of all fatal car crashes" involving teens aged 16-19 involved cell phone use. And those statistics only apply to the devices’ use as a phone; it does not include texting!
A new national study shows that drivers of all ages are almost 6 times more likely to get into an accident while dialing your phone and just over 23 times higher while texting. Your phone and texting activities cannot possibly be worth serious injury or death; common sense should prevail. If you are a passenger and your driver is texting or dialing, demand that he/she stop and/or let you out! The driver will probably stop the offending activity when he/she realizes your are serious.
Parents of new drivers may want to consider making them drive passengerless for awhile, as the new driver gains experience behind the wheel. Because of passenger-caused distractions, the risk of a teenage fatal accident increases 100% with a friend in the passenger seat, and triples if there are three or more passengers.
New mobile phone applications are being brought to market to help you monitor your children’s activities. Verizon, for example, has introduced downloadable applications that tracks where your children are at all times. Unfortunately, these applications do not track activities or speed. However, another innovation, similar to "black box" tracking technology on emergency vehicles, allows parents to use a computer or mobile phone to receive an ‘alert’ when the teen is speeding or traveling somewhere he shouldn’t be going. One example of this technology is Alltrack USA. Another, DriveCam, utilizes a small onboard camera that records risky driving, speeding, hard-braking or swerving.
Thank you to InjuryBoard member Jon Lewis, who posted Alabama’s Reckless Driving statute, Section 32-5A-190. In my state, Michigan, the city of Detroit has a local ordinance, Chap 55, Article 4, Section 28 that prohibits making a mobile phone call without a hands-free device. Also in Michigan, statewide legislation banning the use of handheld phones while driving is currently under consideration. As previously reported in these pages, U.S. Senate has been discussing a national ban on texting while driving.
Lawsuit Financial strongly urges parents to get involved in their children’s driving activities and consider utilizing the new technologies available. The litigation funding company encourages the United States Senate, state and local government to pass sensible handheld and texting legislation to protect our citizens, especially our youthful drivers.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.