Over the past couple of years, the nation has been taking steps to combat the issue of distracted driving. With the proliferation of sophisticated cellphones and other wireless devices, the problem appears to be most prevalent among technology-dependant teenage motorists. In fact, many states, such as Missouri, have specific laws that do not permit novice, young drivers fromtexting while driving. However, safety advocates are now wondering if the problem is a habit among not only teen motorists, but also older, experienced drivers.
According to Distraction.gov, in 2011, 3,331 people died from car accidents involving a driver that was not paying attention. This was an increase from the number of similar fatalities of the previous year. With the number of deaths rising from inattentive driving, lawmakers are eager to create more safeguards.
Proposed changes to the texting and driving law in Missouri
In Missouri, it is illegal to text and drive only for those under 21. However, in 2012, the state’s Highway Patrol wrote 70 tickets for texting violations. Knowing this number only includes motorists under the age of 21, this statistic is alarming. To ensure that all motorists are held accountable for this poor driving habit, the Missouri legislature has introduced a new law this session, which makes texting by hand illegal for all motorists in the state. However, the proposed law would let drivers text if they use hands-free, voice systems.
Distracted driving, in general
Ultimately, it is every motorist’s duty to pay attention to ongoing activity on the road. While cellphones seem to be a major catalyst for the distracted driving problem in America, other poor habits can contribute to the issue. Such practices include:
- Adjusting the music
- Checking a map or using a GPS navigation system
- Smoking, eating or drinking
- Personal grooming practices
It is best for motorists to address these needs only when the vehicle is not in motion as such practices take one’s eyes off the road.
Ultimately, a distracted or inattentive driver equates to a negligent driver – one that should be held liable for causing an accident. If you have been injured by a motorist believed to be an inattentive or reckless driver, contact an experienced personal injury law attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you assess your damages and various rights of recovery.