The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently published an alarming new statistics: driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while drunk. The agency found that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. This, they say, when driving at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field while wearing a blindfold.
The alarming statistics continue: according to a study done by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, texting while driving causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries every year. Amongst teenagers, texting while driving has now replaced drinking while driving as the lead cause of death for this age group. Studies show texting drivers are 43% more likely to be involved in a car accident.
Given these grave statistics, many states are taking action to curb instances of texting while driving. Currently 12 U.S. states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia) and the District of Columbia have enacted a total ban on drivers using hand-held cellular phone devices while driving. Text messaging specifically is banned in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, Mississippi has yet to pass a total ban on texting or using cellular phones while driving. The Magnolia State has enacted a ban preventing novice drivers and school bus drivers from texting while driving.
Proponents of a total texting while driving ban have attempted to pass legislation several times before. Senator Billy Hudson of Hattiesburg has championed the cause, introducing bills banning texting while driving for the last five years. He has not given up on the legislation, and plans to introduce a bi-partisan bill as early as this year. Opponents of the bill state that it will create an enforcement nightmare if only texting and driving is banned and it will do little to combat the more general problem of distracted drivers.
Texting while driving is not the only danger faced by law abiding citizens on Mississippi roadways. Drivers can be distracted by any number of common things, such as: talking on their cell phones, emailing, using a gps, using ipods or other music devices, reaching for things on the floor, tending to children or pets, and eating or drinking. Distracted drivers of all forms can cause serious accidents and injuries with their negligent driving.
Despite the lack of a total ban on distracted drivers in Mississippi, victims of distracted drivers often have recourse in civil court. Personal injury actions and actions for wrongful death are the best means currently available for holding those who text and drive or are otherwise distracted responsible for their negligent actions.
If you or a loved one is in an automobile accident, evidence that the other driver was distracted will make it easier to assign fault. A skilled districted driver attorney is essential to your full and complete recovery when you are in an accident with a distracted driver. At the Giddens Law Firm, we will investigate the accident fully by reviewing the police accident report, witness statements, your statements, and all other evidence that can show the other driver was distracted. We know the steps to take to access the other driver’s cell phone records, when necessary. Before you speak with the insurer of the distracted driver, call the Giddens Law Firm at (601) 355-2022. Our consultation and case analysis is free and we often operate on a contingency basis, so there will be no upfront cost to you. Call today to get us started fighting for justice for you.