Laws to prevent distracted driving Laws are being passes to cut down on texting while driving to make the roads a safer place by trying to reduce car accidents.

Glossary

Ban: an official or legal prohibition

Ordinance: a piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority

Multitasking: dealing with more than one task at the same time

Cracking down: to start dealing with bad or illegal behaviour in a more severe way

Inattention: lack of attention or distraction

Legislation: process of enacting or making laws

Why is distracted driving so dangerous?

As soon as a driver takes their eyes off the road to check their phone it increases the chance of a car accident dramatically. A drivers inattention to the road and the surrounding cars can lead to disasters and that is why new laws are being created to cut down on texting and driving. Just about 80% of all car crashes in the United States are caused by a distracted driver because dialing a phone number can increase the risk of a crash by 6 times and 23 times by sending a text ("Driving Distracted"). Due to the high percentage of car crashes caused by distracted drivers, it shows how hazardous distracted driving is since many people are injured or even killed in car accidents. Some recent studies have shown that talking on the phone while driving makes the risk of a car crash increase just by talking while holding a phone (Clines). The dangers of distracted driving has lead to new laws being created to put a stricter ban on the use of phones while driving.

Why does there need to be an increase of laws?

The current laws in most states are lacking enforcement to prevent the use of phones while driving and that is causing many car crashes which kill or injure people. The increase of cell phone users are also a contributing factor to the need of stricter laws since more people are using cellphones while driving. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration 85% of the United States 110 million cell phone owners use their phones in some way when they are driving (Clines). Most laws about texting while driving aren’t enforced enough which is why the new laws want more enforcement so people will obey the law. In most states police officers cannot pull someone over if they see them on their phone but if they are pulled over due to another violation then the police can give them a fine for texting while driving but it is a small amount (“Editorial: Give Teeth To Texting Ban”). The current laws are not strict when it comes to texting while driving so now states across the country are trying to enforce more laws.

What pushed states to want a stricter ban on distracted driving?

When states began to see the increase of car crashes and fatalities on their roads they realized how big of problem distracted driving is. Some states decided to create and enforce new laws that will help prevent the car crashes that are happening on a daily basis. In Florida, fatalities due to car accidents have increased 46% in 2 years and accidents caused by distracting driving rose by 36% between 2012 and 2015 (“Editorial: Give teeth to texting ban”). As the number kept increasing throughout the years they realized that something needs to be done to prevent those fatalities because of car accidents. The United States wants to protect their citizens from danger, so they are hoping to do that by putting a stricter ban on texting while driving. At any given daylight period over 660,000 drivers are on some mobile device while driving and that number is increasing at an alarming pace (Raul). As states begin to crack down on distracted driving by implementing new laws they hope to see a positive effect on drivers.

What are the laws doing to cut down on distracted driving?

By passing laws that will allow police officers to pull someone over if they see them touching their phone, they hope it will force drivers to not risk going on their phone over a ticket. Laws in the past haven’t been strict when it comes to using phones while driving but with the new laws they are really cracking down on texting while driving and trying a hands-free approach. After Japan enforced a hands-free driving policy on cell phones, the number of car accidents decreased by 52% (Clines). That is the type of laws that the Unites States wants to implement since the hands-free policy is helping to decrease car crashes. The idea behind the bill is to make it easier for officers to stop and pull over any distracted driver and help force drivers to not use their phones while driving to overall help decrease the amount of distracted drivers on the road (Bizjak). The hope is that the laws continue to cut down on distracted driving to prevent car accidents in the future.

What will the laws look like in the future?

Lawmakers and activists are wanting to make the laws widespread since most of the laws against texting while driving are just local and not statewide. Improving the laws and expanding them to other states is the main focus for the future. The amount of people who use their phones while driving has increased so much that 6 in 10 people who text and drive today didn’t three years ago and in the next three years that ratio could potentially go up (“Texting While Driving, AT&T”). As the amount of people who text and drive increases, it encourages more laws to come out in the future to completely eliminate texting and driving. The goal of the laws are to eliminate car accidents caused by distracted drivers and their hope is that in the future the laws are obeyed and cut down on the amount of car accidents. The Department of Transportation is trying to push congress into passing texting and driving legislations because they hope it will enforce more people's behaviors to change when it comes to distracted driving. They also want using a phone while driving to be a primary offense since in most places it is a secondary offense so the police can pull you over for just using your phone while driving (“Driving Distracted”). Overall, laws are being enacted to cut down on texting while driving to attempt to prevent further car accidents and reckless driving.

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