As a lawyer who handles serious injury and wrongful death cases stemming from auto accidents, I am especially aware of the epidemic of distracted driving that brings many new clients to my law firm. It is very easy to recognize when drivers are distracted. You may see a driver's chin tuck down for at least two to three seconds at a time. This is important because at a speed of 60 miles per hour a vehicle travels 88 feet per second. That's more than one half the length of a football field in just two seconds. Vehicles operated by distracted drivers also may weave from side to side or drift slowly across lanes. Distracted drivers also may reduce their vehicle speed. If you see a driver in the passing lane of the highway, going 50 miles per hour in a 65 MPH zone, it is likely that driver is distracted by something other than the road in front of them.
Drivers from all socioeconomic backgrounds text and drive. Male and female drivers, both young and old, seem to be equally engaged in texting and driving. So, what will it take for drivers to stop the insane practice of texting and driving? Powerful television commericals have been airing in recent months that particularly focus on young drivers who think they are safe from disaster behind the wheel. Thusfar, it is hard to say whether or not these campaigns have made a positive impact. Legislation that would impose heavy fines and license suspensions for distracted drivers is desperately needed. One New York Senate bill provides for the field testing of drivers by police after an accident or collision for use of mobile telephones and portable electronic devices while driving. Text-alyzer technology, which can examine a smartphone and determine if it was being used prior to or during a car crash, may assist police investigating a motor vehicle accident. On average, 9 Americans lose their lives every single day because of distracted driving. As the number of accidents involving distracted driving continues to rise, it is incumbent upon all of us to call for social change, support legislation that will impose stiffer penalties, and to practice what we preach.