Are Texting and Driving Laws Enough of a Deterrent?
Have you ever found yourself behind a vehicle that was driving erratically or swerving, only to realize that the driver was texting behind the wheel? Texting while driving has been blamed for over 1.5 million automobile accidents every year, with 330,000 injured each year and over 3,000 reported killed in 2013 alone. Though there have been several laws passed in an effort to curtail texting behind the wheel, people continue to do so – in fact 35% of teen drivers have admitted to texting while driving despite knowing that it is a dangerous activity. These statistics beg the question as to whether texting and driving laws provide enough of a deterrent. The personal injury lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Attorneys at Law have taken a close look at this question, and we have some eye-opening answers.
The legal system has worked to pass laws against texting ever since the technology became widely available. The first legislation was passed in 2005 and many others followed quickly, with a total of 44 currently enforcing either primary or secondary enforcement on all drivers, primary enforcement on young drivers and secondary enforcement on all other drivers, or primary enforcement only on young drivers. The difference between primary and secondary enforcement is that where the law allows primary enforcement, police officers are permitted to pull a driver over if they are observed texting while driving. By contrast, secondary enforcement only allows a charge if the driver has been pulled over on another charge and was also found to be texting. From a statistical standpoint, studies have shown that primary enforcement has provided a 3 percent drop in texting and driving fatalities in all drivers, and an 11 percent drop in fatalities when enforced in the teen age group. The statistics show that the texting and driving laws definitely save lives – but the real question is whether the law has been able to accomplish enough and change enough behaviors.
The problem of texting and driving is no longer an issue of the laws, though it is possible that even more stringent laws could be established, with more prohibitive penalties. The real issue is with those who know the laws but who pay no attention. Texting and driving is an act of extreme negligence that not only puts the driver in jeopardy, but also those with whom they share the road. There has been an aggressive public relations campaign aimed at educating people about the tragedies that have occurred as a result of texting, and yet people continue to do it.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident involving a driver who was texting while driving, then the driving laws clearly did not do enough to protect you, but there are other ways that the law can help. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver, you may be able to hold them legally responsible for their actions and make them provide you with compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. The compassionate attorneys from Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers share your concerns about drivers who text behind the wheel. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.