Author: Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP
CNN announced Tuesday, December 13, 2011 that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) called for a nationwide ban on texting and cell phone use while driving, except for emergency calls. This announcement is NHTSA’s boldest move to date for reducing cell phone use and texting.
Cell phone statistics backing the proposed ban
A December 8, 2011 CNN article entitled Millions of drivers won’t hang up, study shows provides statistics that explain some underlying reasons for the recent requested ban. A federal study indicates:
One in 20 drivers use cell phones at any given time
One in 100 drivers are observed sending text messages or manipulating digital devices
During daytime hours, 13.5 million drivers are on handheld cell phones
Cell phone use and texting steadily increase despite new laws and publicity about dangers
One tenth of all 2010 fatalities involve distracted drivers
Researchers suspect distracted driving fatalities are actually much higher than the study revealed. A lack of witnesses frequently makes observing cell phone use difficult.
While NHTSA has influence as a respected government agency, it has no power to legislate a nationwide ban, not federally or at the state level. Just as state governments legislate DUI and other traffic laws, cell phone restrictions have also been state mandated. The outcome of NHTSA’s call for a nationwide cell phone ban while driving remains to be seen. At this point the matter is open for debate and various sectors are weighing in with their views.
Protect your rights
Seek legal help as soon as possible, if you suffer serious injury or a loved one is killed in a car accident. Other driver distraction through texting or cell phone use often indicates negligence and may be grounds for a lawsuit. A Suffolk County car accident attorney (lilawyer.com) can begin interviewing witnesses and preserving evidence immediately.