We've recently been writing about the increasing number of traffic fatalities due to distracted driving. In addition to the statistics we blogged about yesterday, a study recently found that distracted driving related accidents jumped from 4,563 in 1999 to 5,870 in 2008.
According the Associated Press, the federal safety investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended Tuesday that all states impose a ban on cell phone use while driving except for emergencies. Inspired by recent deadly crashes, including one in which a teenager sent or received 11 text messages in 11 minutes before an accident, the recommendation would apply even to hands-free devices, a much stricter rule than any current state law. The unanimous recommendation by the five-member National Transportation Safety Board would make an exception for devices deemed to aid driver safety such as GPS navigation systems. The NTSB declared that texting, emailing or using a cellphone while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed anywhere in this country. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed as a result of an automobile crash, contact our office for a free consultation.
According to a recent study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, typing or reading a text message while behind the wheel of a car can double the reaction time of a driver. It is likely that a person who is texting will respond slower to unexpected dangers on the road like a child running across the street or a sudden stop of the vehicle in front of them. Texting while driving inhibits the reaction response by three to four seconds when the normal response time is one to two seconds. Drivers are eleven times more likely not to see a flashing light in the middle of the road while they are texting. In addition, maintaining correct lane position and driving at a constant speed are impaired.
In the last year, states across the national have enacted laws limiting use of cell phones and electronic devices behind the wheel. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving. Nine states and the District of Columbia also ban handheld cell phone use. These laws, targeted at drivers of regular vehicles and commercial vehicles alike, have sought to increase safety on the roadways that are becoming increasingly dangerous due to distracted driving.
A Texas man was injured when his Motorola Droid exploded as he talked on his cell phone. The man had just finished a call when he heard a loud "pop" and felt blood start trickling down his face. The screen had burst outward, causing lacerations by his ear. He was immediately taken to the emergency room where he received stitches to close the wound. Motorola is currently investigating the incident. This is not the first time an exploding phone has caused injuries. A 23-year-old man was killed in August when his phone exploded, and a similar incident took the life of a 27-year-old woman in January. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued warnings for cell phone users, advising users to keep their phones away from metal objects and liquids. These warnings were issued in response to a 19-year-old Wyoming woman who suffered third-degree burns while she slept because her phone caught fire as it was charging.