Texting and driving has become a problem of epidemic proportions. I can’t drive down the road for more than a few minutes without seeing at least one driver texting, checking emails, taking a phone call, or trying to catch a Pokemon with their cell phone. The death and injury toll is rising, as reports indicate that 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers.
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States are cracking down on distracted driving, but it appears the threat of relatively small ($100-$500) fines has little impact on distracted drivers. Given the number of lives lost and accidents caused by texting and driving, perhaps a greater fine or even jail time is in order, especially for repeat offenders. As bikers, we are well aware that it is critical to pay attention while on the road. Often, our lives are at stake when distracted drivers fail to realize we are near them on a busy roadway.
5 Ways to Make a Difference
If you believe texting and driving is a major issue and you want to make an impact, here are some easy ways for you to take action today.
- Encourage employers to prohibit cell phone use for employees while driving. Often, employers are some of the worst culprits. In an effort to increase productivity, they call, text, and email employees who are on the road. Employees are quick to respond to these messages, which often means reading and responding to messages while driving. Implement a company plan that requires employees wait until they are at their next stop before receiving or responding to messages.
- Set a positive example for children and teenagers. 77 percent of teenagers report that their parents use the cell phones and text while driving. These parents set an example that it is reasonable and safe to risk distracted driving. Talk with your children about the importance of attending to the road while driving, and put your phone down when you are behind the wheel.
- Join the American Motorcyclist Association as they work with the NHTSA. The association strives to hold drivers accountable for distracted driving. The association supports bills that strengthen penalties for texting or talking on the phone while driving, and works to hold people accountable for their behavior behind the wheel.
- Take the pledge to end distracted driving. This pledge, put forth by the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving, states that you will not text or talk on the phone while driving, you will ask any driver to refrain from driving in a distracted manner, and you will discuss this issue with friends and family.
- Install an app like Live2Txt, CellControl, or Drive Safe Mode that block any texts received while your vehicle is in motion. These apps will hold your texts until your vehicle has stopped and it is safe to receive them.
By taking these simple actions, you can make a difference! As a motorcycle crash attorney, I see far too many crashes occur due to distractions. Do what you can to stop distracted driving around you!