Texting and Driving Should Be Treated Like Drunk Driving, Says LA Times Article
Texting and driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions and, as an opinion article in the Los Angeles Times recently indicated, it is “fast becoming the new drunk driving,” as a result of just how dangerous it is and how many collisions it causes.
Drunk driving accidents have been reduced substantially as a result of stricter rules against drunk driving and as a result of social stigma attached to driving while intoxicated. The Los Angeles Times article writer urged that texting should be treated just as drunk driving is so that this high-risk activity could hopefully become less common, just as impaired driving has.
Unfortunately, far too many people don't realize how dangerous distracted driving is and they engage in the unsafe behavior regularly, putting themselves and others at risk. A Colorado Springs personal injury attorney should be consulted for help if you or someone you love becomes a victim of an irresponsible texting driver who caused a collision to occur.
Many Believe Texting and Driving Should Be Treated Similarly to Drunk Driving
Distracted driving caused an estimated 3,500 car accident fatalities in 2015, the most recent year that the data is available. In addition to thousands of fatalities, distracted driving also caused an additional 400,000 estimated injuries in car accidents.
Many of the people who were hurt or killed in accidents, or who hurt others, were teen drivers. Teenagers have been found to be four times as likely as older drivers to engage in texting and driving accidents, in part because many teens text without realizing the dangers since they have routinely seen adults they drive with using their devices as they operate their vehicles.
The Los Angeles Times article argues that current deterrents are simply not working and do not do enough to prevent motorists from texting and driving. While some states have strict laws on distracted driving, not all do. And, even in states such as California – which has some of the strictest rules in the nation for distracted driving – the penalties are insignificant compared with the penalties for drunk driving, which can include criminal charges, large fines, a lengthy license suspension, and even jail time.
Enforcement of distracted driving laws is also inconsistent and many motorists get away with driving while texting or using other devices. In fact, an estimated one-third of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 read or send email or text messages while they are in traffic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, the number of citations is very small compared with the number of people who are texting and driving, in part because officers are often reluctant to issue a violation for a behavior that is difficult to prove in court.
Drunk driving deaths have declined thanks to strict enforcement of harsh laws on DUI, and if texting and driving were also treated as a more serious offense under the law, the number of fatalities from this cause would hopefully decline as well. Unfortunately, it is unlikely drivers will stop texting any time soon under the current rules. If motorists chose to text and drive, a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney should be consulted for help in pursuing a claim if those texting drivers cause a collision to occur.