The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, recently reported on the alarming nationwide incidence of auto accident injuries and deaths resulting from distracted driving. During the past year, nearly 6,000 people died, and half a million were injured in accidents involving inattentive drivers.
Each day, more than 800,000 vehicles are driven by people using hand-held cell phones. However, cell phones are not the only distraction, especially for many teenagers, who also use iPods and video games while they are behind the wheel.
Distracted driving is not a problem limited to personal motor vehicles. Commercial and public transportation operators have also been known to allow dangerous distractions to cause major accidents.
At the 2010 National Distracted Driving Summit, LaHood announced new anti-distracted driving regulations to combat auto accident injuries and deaths. These regulations will ban commercial truck drivers from texting while transporting hazardous materials.
Many other private and public organizations are supporting the campaign against distracted driving. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety reported that 1,600 U.S. companies and organizations have instituted anti-distracted driving policies, covering approximately 10.5 million workers nationwide. An additional 550 organizations made commitments to adopt these policies, which will cover another 1.5 million employees within the next 12 months.
More than 200 distracted driving bills have been introduced in 46 state legislatures in the past year. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia currently ban cell phones for new drivers, while 6 states and the District of Columbia ban cell phone use by all drivers.
Michigan auto accident law also has changed to combat the trend of distracted driving. The Michigan Legislature recently passed a state ban on texting, to help prevent Michigan car accidents. Earlier this year, lawmakers agreed to make it a primary offense to text while driving, so that police could pull over drivers for texting and only texting. The traffic fines for violators – $100 for the first offense and $200 for each subsequent offense – indicated the Legislature’s determination to decrease Michigan auto accident injuries.
Michigan auto accident attorney Mark Bernstein said: “Operating a motor vehicle requires a driver’s complete attention. Unexpected events, traffic congestion, changes in highway conditions, or sudden actions by other drivers or pedestrians, can lead to a tragic accident in a split second. By avoiding cell phone use and other distractions, Michigan motorists can protect themselves and others from serious auto accident injuries.”
The Sam Bernstein Law Firm is dedicated to increasing awareness about the dangers of distracted driving to prevent Michigan auto accidents, as well as protecting the legal rights of auto accident victims. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, contact an experienced Michigan car accident attorney immediately.