What Can Be Done to Prevent Drivers from Sending Texts?

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We are officially in the digital age, and that means many people cannot go even five minutes without checking their phone. The obsessive behavior continues behind the wheel.

Estimates are conservative – one in five drivers will use their phone to text while driving and it is being done by drivers of all ages.

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, and according to the Texting Awareness Foundation, about 6,000 deaths, along with half a million injuries are caused by texting drivers.

A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-testing person, according to Drive Safe Alabama. We understand, it’s difficult to look away.

We have become obsessive about our phones and most people cannot and will not be without one. Even in the company of others, they will check their phone.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, more than 3,477 people lost their lives in 2015 due to distracted driving.

In Alabama- the state estimates inattention to driving is one factor along with driver error and improper judgment that contributes to over 90 percent of highway crashes.  These result in preventable deaths!

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

No matter who the driver is in your household, enrolling in a defensive driving course will help make real this unsafe practice behind the wheel. It is no excuse that everyone else is doing it.

In fact, parents need to lead by example and show their children how to avoid distracted driving.  It is difficult to resist the impulse to answer your phone so there are a number of precautions you can take to make driving safer for adults and teens.

  • Put the phone out of reach. That means really out of reach, in your purse or in the back seat. In a suitcase or in the trunk. Anywhere you will not be tempted to reach for it.

  • Turn the phone to silent. This includes turning off the vibrate so you won’t hear it and be tempted to grab or the phone.

  • There are a variety of apps available to block texts when you are driving such as AT&T DriveMode, DriveSafe.ly, Drive Scribe, TextNinja. Live2Text is available with Androids. The LifeSaver app prevents distracted driving but also lets parents know when their child gets to her destination.

  • Use an app to monitor your teen’s cellphone use while driving.  Apps have the option to lock the phone or relay the child’s texting behavior on the road.

  • Set definite expectations and follow through when they are not met.

  • Have your driving companion send and/or receive texts while moving instead of you, the driver.

  • Pull off the road and answer a text message.  

  • Use Hands-Free or Bluetooth so you can keep both hands on the wheel to answer a phone call on your cell phone.

Laws to Prevent Texting Drivers

Alabama law (§ Code 32-5A-350) prevents adults from using text-based communications while driving whether writing, sending, or reading a text.  This does not include information that one might get in the car’s hardwired screens and it does not include talking on a cellphone while driving.

Alabama law does not address video streaming, watching television, or video chat apps. These are lax laws when compared to other states and the penalties are also lax.

A first-time offender will receive a $25 fine, hardly enough to deter texting while driving.  If the state was serious about making us all safer on the roads, it would stiffen penalties for a first and second-time offender.

Your Personal Injury Law Firm

Chip Nix has seen the real-life results from distracted driving.  Lives are lost and the innocent may be permanently injured.  If you have been in a car accident, your advocate, personal injury lawyer Chip Nix, will represent your needs in obtaining the justice you deserve.

 A texting driver may not only be violating the law, he may be guilty of wanton or reckless conduct that a jury will consider before awarding compensation to the injured.  Our Montgomery, Alabama office number is 334-279-7770 or contact us online to begin the conversation.  

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