At the opening of the Distracted Driving Summit, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that texting while driving has become an “an endemic” and a “menace to society.” Over 300 people are taking part in the conference, including law enforcement officials, lawmakers, and safety experts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,780 people died (16% of all deadly traffic collisions) and 515,000 people sustained injuries in distracted driving accidents last year. Many of these auto crashes are a result of people using cell phones and PDAs.
Distracted driving is reportedly a big problem among young drivers, especially those under age 21. Distracted driving was a factor in 16% of deadly crashes involving drivers in this age group.
Young motorists, however, aren’t the only ones who text and drive. CTIA-The Wireless Association reports that while 10 billion text messages a month were sent in December 2005, more than 110 billion texts were transmitted in December 2008.
Texting while driving is now illegal in Washington DC and 18 US states. Seven states have made it illegal to talk on a handheld cell phone while driving. Safety groups are calling on a nationwide ban making it illegal for drivers to text and have cell phone conversations. Meantime, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety wants the government to restrict the texting and cell phone talk of the operators of tractor-trailers, large vans, and motor coaches, while the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers (members include Ford, General Motors, and Toyota) support a ban on handheld phones and texting while driving.
Too many catastrophic car accidents are happening because drivers were distracted. Texting usually requires the use of both hands and eyes. This means that the texting driver will spend at least a few seconds not holding the steering wheel, not watching the road, and not paying attention. These few seconds can end someone’s life.
Bus accidents, train accidents, truck accidents, and car accidents have happened because motorists were distracted. Our Washington DC injury lawyers are cognizant of how distracted driving can destroy lives and we are here to help.
Distracted Driving Summit Emphasizing Danger of Texting Opens Today in Washington DC, ABC News, September 29, 2009
Govt: Nearly 6,000 deaths from driver distraction, AP, September 29, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Distracted Driving Summit, US Department of Transportation
Distracted Driving, National Safety Council