Oct 7, 2014 - Articles - by Dodson & Hooks, APLC
The U.S. Department of Transportation has long been focused on reducing the number of distracted drivers on our nation’s roadways. The agency has urged states to adopt distracted driving laws, which could include bans on using handheld cellphones while driving.
The DoT states that in 2010, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. With smartphones becoming more common, there is an increased potential for drivers to be distracted. New cars often have in-dash features that also make it easier for drivers to take their eyes off of the road.
In Louisiana, motorists are banned from sending texts while driving. Bills have been proposed that would prohibit the use of cellphones while behind-the-wheel, but thus far, these bills have not gained enough support to become law. Legislators in the state are concerned that a serious motor vehicle accident will have to happen before more aggressive laws will be passed.
However, even though these laws with tough penalties are in place, police have found them very difficult to enforce. Motorists stopped for distracted driving violations need to be spotted in the act. If pulled over, officers then need to determine if the individual was actually using a cellphone or texting. Some officers feel that they do not have the tools necessary to catch drivers that place other motorists at risk.
Some states recently received grant money to help develop new methods of enforcing distracted driving laws. One of the ways that police will be looking for distracted drivers involves the use of overpasses. Officers will be stationed on bridges over roadways to determine if a motorist is texting or using a cellphone while driving, and then relaying this information to other officers further down the road.
Officials may also use some of this money to run ad campaigns that are geared toward informing voters of the dangers of distracted driving. Many of these ads are targeted at younger drivers, the group that is most likely to be texting or using a cellphone while driving.
Police may also begin to find better ways of tracking accidents caused by distracted drivers. In some locations, this is not recorded on accident reports. If not reported, it is impossible to properly log the accident. This may mean that there are many more crashes out there that are caused by inattentive driving.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney. This can be a very confusing time, especially if you have never been in an accident before. Insurance companies may try to get you to settle your claims for less than they are worth. Make sure than you understand the options that are available to you before you make a decision about your case.