A group of highway safety officials from around the nation planned to endorsed a ban on text messaging while driving, the New York Times reported Aug. 30. The Governors Highway Safety Association, a group of leaders from state highway safety agencies such as MODot, called for the ban at the beginning of its weeklong annual meeting in Savannah, Georgia. Calling text messaging a form of distracted driving, Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr. said in a press release that a ban on texting and driving in all 50 states, and for people of all ages, would tell the public that the practice is dangerous and unacceptable.
The association’s press release said its action was directly influenced by a recent study on texting and driving from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Using cameras mounted in the cabs of long-haul trucks, the Institute found that truckers had a 23 times greater chance of crashing, or almost crashing, when they were sending text messages. In fact, the study found that they took their eyes off the road for an average of five seconds every time they texted — enough time for a truck to travel the length of a football field at highway speed. The association said it still had concerns about how texting bans would be enforced, but supported a project by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it hopes will help develop good enforcement strategies.
As a Missouri auto accident lawyer who has long been interested in issues of text messaging while driving, I believe public interest in this issue has snowballed in the past few months. The Times has devoted several articles to texting while driving recently, federal legislation mandating a nationwide ban is being considered, and multiple state legislatures have recently considered or passed a ban on texting for at least some drivers. That includes a law here in Missouri that took effect on Aug. 28, making it illegal for drivers under 21 to text while driving — and an Illinois law, effective Jan. 1, banning the practice for all drivers. And as the Times notes, a growing body of research supports those bans. If texting while driving is eventually banned nationwide — and followed up with serious enforcement — I believe lives will be saved.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, the Lowe Law Firm handles crash-related legal claims from throughout Missouri and southern Illinois. Our St. Louis car crash attorneys represent people who were seriously injured in accidents that were caused by someone else’s careless driving — including careless use of a cell phone behind the wheel. Often, these victims are left unable to work by their injuries and with huge medical debts they are unable to pay. In some cases, victims are left disable and in need of a lifetime of care. In a lawsuit, our southern Illinois car accident lawyers can help these victims win back all of those costs and others, as well as compensation for their injuries, physical pain and emotional suffering.
If you or a loved one was hit by a careless driver — whether or not a phone was involved — and you need help handling the financial and legal aftermath, you should call the Lowe Law Firm right away. To learn more at a free consultation, please contact us through the Internet or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.