How many times has the following happened to you? You’re driving, and talking on your cell phone, (which you shouldn’t be, in the first place.) You drive over a bump and the phone slips out of your hand, into the Netherworld – the black space between the middle console and your driver’s seat. Most people, at this point, take their eyes off the road, and start fishing in the black hole below. In probably 60% of these instances, they cause a car accident because they’re not paying attention and their eyes are off the road.
The same thing could happen to your coins, pens, paper, keys and God know’s what else you might be holding in your hand when you drive. This kind of distracted driving of course, doesn’t even begin to take into account the numerous people who text-message while they are driving. It bewilders me – and should frighten everyone – at the number of people who take their eyes off the roadway, thinking that sending a message is more important than driving safely.
People had better start to think twice about this foolish practice. Because It just might be the very last message you ever send.
Distracted driving is, and continues to be, a huge problem. In a recent article in The Washington Post, a survey from AT&T pointed out that adults, sadly, are nowadays more likely to drive when they are distracted. A whopping 49% of adults polled said that they actually do drive and text at the same time, even while realizing that this practice is incredibly unsafe. And even more, the survey showed that 60% of drivers indeed do text – though they said that they never did so three years ago.
Why do people do this? According to the survey, people said that simultaneously texting and driving makes them feel that they are more productive. They called the practice “second nature.” They likened it to feeling “connected.” Worse, an equally disturbing number of teen drivers – 43% — said in the survey that they were also simultaneously driving and texting.
I’ve got news for all these people: That deadly practice may end up making you feel connected, all right – to a wheelchair, or a coffin. And if you’re the unfortunate person in the OTHER car, who is hit by a distracted driver, you are likely going to need a Boston Massachusetts distracted driving lawyer in order to recover financial damages for your injuries.
The problem has become so severe that the U.S. government has its own website for distracted driving. Distraction.gov. One way that the U.S. government is trying to stop these alarming accidents, is by getting drivers to “take the pledge.”
You can do your part and pledge to:
• Protect lives. I pledge to never text or talk on the phone while I am driving.
• Be a good passenger. I will speak up if and when the driver in my car is distracted.
• Encourage my friends and family to drive their cars phone-free.
In Massachusetts, generally speaking the law on texting while driving and distracted driving breaks down:
There is a ban on cellphone use for bus drivers. Fine: $500.
There is a ban on cellphone use for novice drivers. Fines: $100 (first offense), then $250, then $500, plus graduated license suspensions.
There is a ban on texting for all drivers. Fines: $100 (first offense), then $250, then $500.
For more specifics, visit our Boston Massachusetts Distracted Driving Accidents/Cellphone Accidents page on our web site.
Who else is doing something all about this distracted driving? The Massachusetts Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA). The bar organization (for which I used to be Public Affairs Counsel and of which of which I am now a member) is leading a statewide effort to put a stop to distracted driving. The City of Medford’s mayor recently announced that Medford has been selected as a lead community in this Massachusetts statewide program to, once and for all, end distracted driving.
MATA is bringing our “End Distracted Driving” program to local high schools throughout Massachusetts. I’m proud to say that I intend to work with MATA, to speak at public high schools throughout Massachusetts, to educate young drivers about the horrible dangers of texting and driving, and driving distracted in any way. Stay tuned to this website and my blog for my upcoming information about the program as it develops.