It's astonishing how many times you will see a vehicle up ahead of swerving around in their lane. You probably immediately think that the driver must be intoxicated in some way, but as you pull up along the side of them to make your passing move, you notice a ghostly white glow illuminating the driver's seat. And, of course, the driver's head is down, only occasionally popping up for a brief moment to check on the traffic in front of them.
Recent efforts across the country to combat distracted driving are in full force in New York City. According to a news story from ABC 7 New York, a recent initiative focused on putting a stop to texting while driving and other distractions that can result in deadly car accidents.
The city-wide initiative aimed to reduce serious distractions that plague drivers when they are behind the wheel. Whether it is sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, or simply inputting information into a GPS device, these distractions can cause serious car accidents.
While driving in New York, an operator of a motor vehicle must always be aware of his surroundings and drive with the requisite level of care for passengers within his vehicle, as well as, pedestrians and other vehicles sharing the roadways. There are, however, moments where an emergency may happen either to the driver or a passenger, which makes it impossible to control the car, and ultimately, the consequences.
When there is a car accident involving more than two cars, it may be increasingly difficult to determine the equitable share of the fault for each of the negligent drivers responsible for the plaintiff's injuries. If the plaintiff decides to file suit against only one of the negligent drivers, that negligent driver may bring any of the other negligent drivers, who he believes was also responsible for the accident, into the lawsuit.
In 2012, it was estimated that New York police officials issued over 20,000 tickets to drivers and operators of motor vehicles for texting while driving. The most recent crackdown in New York City has been attributed to the dangerous effects that texting while driving (or other operations of a cell phone while driving) has had on public safety on the roads.
The fact that texting and driving is dangerous is now well understood. In fact, distracted driving now causes more motor vehicle accidents than any other risk factor. As a result, safety advocates, judges and legislators are struggling to reign in this public safety hazard and are seeking new ways to discourage drivers from choosing to text and drive.
Commercial carriers have the power to set the policies for how and when their drivers may use handheld devices while operating their vehicles. Current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) laws ban texting and the use of handheld cellphones while driving, but some carriers require or allow drivers to continue to text or talk on their handheld cellphones during their driving shifts. Carriers may be held liable for infractions that they inspire or allow to occur.
Does your teen text while driving? If you answered no, there is a possibility that you may be incorrect. A federal survey related to texting and driving by teens was recently released by the Center for Disease and Control and the results are appalling. More than half of our nation's high school seniors admit to texting or emailing while behind the wheel. A little less than half of high school juniors admit to the same.
Distracted driving in general and texting while driving in particular are dangerous practices and the statistics prove it. According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009, approximately 5,500 people were killed and nearly 500,000 more injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers.