Texas Aims to Reduce Distracted Driving
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 20, 2013 - Efforts are underway in Texas to reduce distracted driving, a major cause of traffic accidents.
Statistics show that distracted driving is a serious problem, and may be severely underreported. In Texas, public education efforts are underway by local government and cell phone companies to discourage distracted driving.
“Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents resulting in injury or death,” said Waxahachie personal injury attorney John Hale. “It is very important for drivers to realize that taking your eyes off the road for even a second can be extremely dangerous.”
Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for American youth. Highway deaths increased last year, with deaths of 16- and 17-year-olds increasing by nearly 20 percent from the year before. In Texas, a quarter of all auto accidents involve distracted driving. In 2011, over 81,000 Texas accidents involved a driver who was distracted by cell phone use, inattention or distractions inside the vehicle, and 361 of those crashes were fatal. Cell phone use alone was a factor in 3,147 accidents, with 40 of them fatal.
As grim as the statistics are, experts say that distracted driving may actually be severely underreported, either because drivers do not admit to law enforcement officials that they were using a cell phone, or because evidence of cell phone use is not collected. The National Safety Council, a nonprofit advocacy group, analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The group reviewed 180 traffic accidents where there was strong evidence that a driver was using a cell phone and found that only half of the accidents were coded in the database as involving use of a phone.
In light of these statistics, people are taking action to raise awareness of distracted driving. The nation's four largest cell phone carriers are launching a joint advertising campaign to discourage distracted driving, using AT&T's slogan, “It Can Wait.” The city of Houston has already launched the “It Can Wait, Houston” campaign to raise awareness of the danger created by texting and driving. The Texas Department of Transportation is also using the slogan in its “Talk. Text. Crash.” campaign.
“These public awareness efforts are very encouraging,” said Hale. “If drivers can learn to change their behavior, then auto accidents can be reduced.”
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