Every day in the United States, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are seriously injured in car crashes caused by distracted drivers. Many safety advocates believe the number is much higher because many drivers don’t admit they were using their cell phones while they were driving. Despite the saturation of public service campaigns and education programs that hammer home how deadly this driving behavior is, the number of fatal distracted driving accidents continue to increase each year.
Although there are a number of reasons why drivers become distracted, the most common reason is that they are focusing on their cell phones instead of focusing on the road. Texting, checking emails and social media accounts, and fiddling with their GPS apps are all too common activities that drivers are engaging in right before they slam into another vehicle or pedestrian.
The majority of states have passed laws banning texting and driving. Here in Virginia, texting is banned for all drivers. It is classified as a primary offense, meaning a police officer does not need another reason to stop you if he or she suspects you are texting. Despite these laws, drivers continue to text and victims continue to die.
A New Weapon in the Distracted Driving Battle?
In an effort to drive these numbers down, states and municipalities are turning to new technology. One new device currently in development would enable law enforcement to find out if a driver was using their cell phone at the time an accident happened. Referred to as a textalyzer, these devices can access the phone’s activity logs and see if the phone was accessing an app, sending a text, or making a phone call at the moment of impact. One state, New York, is examining whether or not this device could become part of their implied consent law when a person is granted a driver’s license, working much the same way the law works for when it comes to suspicion of drunk driving and breathalyzers.
Not everyone thinks textalyzers are a good idea. Several civil liberties groups, including the ACLU, have voiced opposition to the devices, citing privacy issues.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Our Virginia car accident attorneys have represented many families who have suffered the devastating loss a loved one because a driver refused to follow the law and put their phone down while behind the wheel. Our personal injury attorneys have also participated in several safety programs, including the nationwide “End Distracted Driving” presentations held at area Virginia high schools. The goal of these presentations is to send the message to young people about the deadly consequences of distracted driving.