As a New York personal injury lawyer who has been handling serious injury cases stemming from auto accidents for 37 years, I am especially aware of the epidemic of distracted driving that brings many new clients to my firm. It's very easy to recognize when drivers are texting and driving. The tell-tale signs of that activity are: the driver's chin remains tucked down for at least 2-3 seconds at a time (at 6o m.p.h., a vehicle travels 88 feet per second...more than 1/2 of a football field in 2 seconds!); weaving of the vehicle from side to side, or drifting across lanes; and, reduced vehicular speed.
I have not observed any significant patterns with regard to the kinds of drivers who engage in distracted driving. Drivers from all socio-economic backgrounds text and drive. Male and female drivers, both young and middle-aged, seem to be equally engaged in texting and driving (thankfully, I have not seen any octogenarians texting and driving).
What will it take for drivers to stop the insane practice of texting while driving? Powerful television commercials have been airing in recent months that are particularly focused on young drivers who think they are immune from disaster behind the wheel. If the TV ads are having any impact, it's hard to verify that is the case based upon my own observations driving on Route 9 between Poughkeepsie and Fishkill, N.Y. and on I-684 and I-84 between White Plains, Brewster and Fishkill, N.Y.
I see more drivers than ever before texting and driving. Even tractor trailer drivers, who are pulling 53' trailers or tandem trailers, text and drive. It used to be that when you observed a truck driver weaving or drifting out of his/her lane, it was due to fatigue. Now, distracted driving is also a significant cause of trucks weaving and drifting.
Legislation that would impose heavy fines and license suspensions for distracted drivers who are caught is needed. New York Senate Bill S6325A (2015-2016 Legislative Session) provides for the field testing after an accident or collision for use of mobile telephones and portable electronic devices while driving. "Textalyzer" technology that 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. I'm not sure how police would be able to determine if a driver was using hands free blue tooth technology at the time of an accident to make a cell phone call, but "textalyzer" technology certainly would reveal texting that was taking place at the time of an accident.
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 practice what we preach.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a serious injury or fatality due to Distracted Driving, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced federal and state courts serious personal injury trial lawyer at The Maurer Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your rights by filling out our free website "Tell Us About Your Case" review form, or phone us directly at 845- 896-5295.
Ira Maurer has been repeatedly recognized by Super Lawyers as an outstanding lawyer who has attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Ira Maurer is also a Lifetime Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.