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Are texting-while-driving laws effective?

It would be an understatement to say that mobile devices and the technology surrounding them have changed our lives. It is everywhere, and it usually makes things easier and faster. One area where mobile device use causes concern, though, is driving.

One only needs to look around while waiting at a red light to see surefire signs that other drivers can’t put their phone down when their attention needs to be at the wheel. One danger we’ve discussed previously is the increase in pedestrian accidents, which experts feel is caused by inattentive drivers. When a driver isn’t paying attention to the road, anyone and anything in a car’s path is at risk.

Teen drivers, the law, and a recent study

Because of growing concern about distracted drivers, Texas has enacted a new law that takes aim at phone use while driving, specifically texting and internet searches. While this is sure to save lives, law enforcement alone can’t solve the problem.

A new study of teen drivers shows that the law influences driver behavior, but a ban won’t make the problem go away. AAA research among 16 to 18 year-old drivers shows limited difference in how many people text while driving. In states, like Texas, where it’s illegal to send a text message from the driver’s seat, 35 percent of teens still admit to doing so. In states where there is no official law, 42 percent of teens admit to the behavior. There is an improvement, yes, but 35 percent is still a dangerously high figure.

Routine dangers

Driving is a necessary and routine part of life, and it’s easy to forget that drivers, passengers and pedestrians are highly vulnerable when we’re moving at high speeds. Most trips do not result in a car accident, which leads to overconfidence and inattentiveness behind the wheel. Texting and internet searches from a mobile device are just two examples of distracted driving, but drivers who fix their hair, eat lunch, or talk to a passenger in the back seat are also distracted from their primary duty as a driver: to keep their eyes on the road and get from Point A to Point B.

Car accidents range from minor to severe. Sometimes, an accident seems insignificant and an injury shows itself to be more serious over time. Because of this, anyone in a car accident should consult a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis. Car accidents can damage health, cost money in terms of auto repair and medical bills, and they also have subtle far-reaching side effects on day to day life, like pulling you away from work, limiting your mobility, and sometimes damaging personal relationships or career opportunities.

When a driver neglects their responsibility, they’re liable for their actions. Because there are so many costs, it’s important to speak with an attorney after an accident so you can review your situation and seek the compensation you deserve for someone else’s inability to look away from their phone.

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Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC
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