As a St. Louis car accident attorney, I have written several times on this blog about the dangers of texting and driving. Last summer saw several reports on research showing a link between text-messaging behind the wheel and an increased rate of accidents. In fact, one study found a 23 times greater risk of crashing. The Missouri Legislature was slightly ahead of the curve when it passed a ban on texting and driving that took effect in late August — but that ban applied only to drivers under 21. Now, according to a Dec. 2 article from the Associated Press, members of the Legislature have already filed several bills for the 2010 legislative session that would extend that ban to drivers of all ages.
The ban on texting by drivers under 21 allows exceptions for medical or roadway emergencies, reporting crimes and emergency responders acting as part of their jobs. The bills the Legislature will consider next year would continue those exceptions, but for drivers of all ages. One measure would also allow texting on private and public gravel roads. Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, said he plans to file a bill to ban texting and driving after he nearly drove off the highway while texting. He called the practice “a bad idea at any age.” The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that in 2010, more than half of states will have a ban on texting by at least some drivers; 18 states will have a universal texting ban. The Missouri Department of Transportation has already banned texting and driving on the job by employees and supports a universal ban for Missouri drivers.
As a Missouri car crash lawyer, I agree completely. As a spokeswoman for MoDOT implied in the article, texting takes the driver’s eyes and attention away from the road, where they belong. In fact, a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study found that truck drivers took their eyes off the road for as long as five seconds while texting. That was enough time, the study said, for a semi truck traveling at highway speeds to cross the length of a football field. While texting is certainly not the only distraction for drivers, it’s one of the fastest-growing distractions and one that not enough drivers take seriously until they have a close call — or a crash. A ban on texting is one way to reduce the wrongful deaths and catastrophic injuries that will surely result — preferably followed by vigorous enforcement and public education campaigns.
At the Lowe Law Firm, we represent clients who were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a car wreck that was no fault of their own. That includes crashes caused by texting, talking and other distractions as well as intoxication, sleepiness and just plain bad decisions. Our southern Illinois auto accident attorneys work with accident victims routinely, so we understand that a crash can cause serious practical and financial problems as well as physical injuries. In many cases, families already struggling with a life-changing disability or death find that the accident has also drastically reduced their income while causing very high medical bills, throwing them into financial uncertainty. We help victims and their families recover those and all other costs of the accident, from the negligent person who caused it in the first place.
If your family has suffered a loss or a serious injury because of someone else’s negligence behind the wheel, you should talk to the Lowe Law Firm as soon as possible. To set up a free consultation, you can send a message through our Web site or call 1-877-678-3400.