Many companies are adopting 100 percent cellphone bans when operating a company vehicle. This helps protect the driver, passengers, and other vehicles on the road from being involved in a collision. A lack of cellphone polices can create great anguish for all parties involved.
According to a recent study funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study, drivers using in-vehicle technologies such as touch screens and voice commands take their eyes and mental focus off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time. The technology, referred to as infotainment technology, allows drivers to use touch screens or voice commands to provide directions, play music, and place phone calls, among other options. Many of the latest systems also now allow drivers to perform tasks unrelated to driving like surfing the web, checking social media, or sending a text message.
One mother shares her tragic story about a fatal car crash that took away her two teenage daughters. The two sisters, 19-year-old Brianna and 17-year-old Jade, were traveling home from Spring break with their friends. Tragically, the driver of the car they were in lost control while checking for directions on her phone. An 18-wheeler struck the car from behind and killed backseat passengers, Brianna and their friend Brittanie Johnson, upon impact. Jade, in the front passenger seat, died several hours later, and the driver of the vehicle was critically injured but ultimately survived. The mother, Stacey Riddle, joined a campaign with the aim of spreading the "talk, text, crash" message, a problem she fears will continue if not talked about. Ms. Riddle pleads with drivers to be more careful on the roads.
A bus carrying fourteen people returning from a church choir retreat was involved in a deadly head-on collision with a 2007 Dodge truck in South Texas last month. The crash killed 13 people after the truck unexpectedly veered into their lane of traffic. Witnesses to the crash confirmed the driver of the truck was texting and on medication at the time of the crash.
Millions of motor vehicle accidents occur each year throughout the United States. For the past decade, at least 3,000 people have died on Texas roads each year. In the last reported year, over 17,000 people suffered serious injuries during automobile accidents in Texas. An unfortunate byproduct of increasing technology in our society has been a marked uptick in texting and driving and related accidents and injuries.
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety rates state traffic laws across the United States in 15 separate categories, such as Occupant Protection, Teen Driving, and Enforcement. There are several areas where Texas falls short, and the most notable is in the Distracted Driving category. It is important to note Texas does not have a ban on texting unlike most others. The only states that do not have any protection laws aside from Texas are Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota. While there is a statewide proposed ban planned to go before Texas lawmakers, similar proposals have failed several times before.
For years, we have all heard about the dangers of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the last few years, concerns with texting and driving have become newsworthy with many municipalities making it illegal. New studies now show that sleep deprived drivers are just as dangerous as drivers who have had three to four alcoholic drinks.
Texting for communication has been on the rise since its inception. Many people seem unable to resist texting at any and all hours of the day, including while driving despite the obvious risks. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic about why it is so dangerous has finally given us an idea. A one year study of 129 patients was done using EEGs, called electroencephalograms, and video. The study found that 1 in 5 had altered brainwaves while texting, and those altered brain waves were a result of extra effort and concentration in the brain. They discovered that while it affected everyone's concentration, those 1 in 5 were especially effected.
It is speculated that the United States has the world's worst problem with distracted driving. The past few years have shown a major increase in distracted driving accidents, with approximately 3,300 fatalities each year. The biggest distraction is texting while driving, which results in 500,000 injuries or deaths per year. As a result, personal injury lawsuits are on a rise. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed in California after an Uber driver who was on the phone hit a mother and her daughter while they were crossing the street.