In mid-July, the Governors' Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report entitled: 2013 Distracted Driving: Survey of the States. The report reviewed what different states are doing in order to try to combat the dangers and risks associated with distracted driving.
Our Austin car accident lawyers know that Texas has not done a lot to fight distracted driving, declining to pass stricter laws that would have imposed a broad statewide ban on texting behind the wheel. However, the GHSA reports that most states - including Texas - have taken some steps to improve their efforts to reduce accidents caused by drivers who aren't paying attention.
GHSA Looks at Distracted Driving Prevention Efforts
The GHSA took a look at many different things that the states are doing in an effort to right against distracted driving. For example, the GHSA reports that:
- Forty-seven out of 50 states, as well as Washington D.C., have bans in place that limit the right to text behind the wheel. A total of 41 of these states have a widespread ban preventing all drivers from texting. Texas, of course, is not one of the states that has a ban for all drivers.
- Law enforcement officers in almost every state are being more proactive in enforcing distracted driving laws on the books, as compared with police efforts to enforce such laws in 2010.
- Forty-seven states and Washington D.C. are working to provide education to the public on distracted driving dangers. These education campaigns include using technology such as Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.
- Twenty-seven states and Washington D.C. are specifically focusing on preventing teen drivers from texting. Since teens have the highest car accident risk and are most likely to adopt new technology, targeting teens with information about the dangers of distracted driving is extremely important.
- Texas, along with several other states, has increased public-private partnerships designed to discourage distracted driving. Texas, California, Minnesota and Nebraska have teamed up with affiliates from the National Safety Council to provide educational information and technology usage-policies to major employers.
- Forty-seven states and Washington D.C. are stepping up efforts to be more accurate in collecting distracted driving data.
All of these efforts on the part of states are positive news because it shows that the problem of distracted driving is being taken more seriously than when a similar survey was conducted by the GHSA in 2010.
Once distracted driving is recognized as a very serious problem, which states seem to be moving towards doing if they aren't there yet, hopefully the behavior of driving distracted can become as stigmatized in society as the danger of driving while drunk. Social pressures not to drive distracted can be a huge motivator encouraging motorists to pay attention to the road and to put down the phone or other electronic devices.
Of course, while Texas is doing some things to try to reduce the dangers of distracted driving, the state could do much more. A statewide ban on texting and driving could save a lot of lives and could help to make the roads safer for everyone.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an Austin car accident, contact Bertolino LLP today at 512-717-5432 for a case evaluation.