We all know the risks associated with driving while intoxicated. But with the advent of smart phones, the risks associated with cell phone use is rapidly becoming just as dangerous. Recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) published a report stating that teenagers are the drivers most likely to be distracted with cell phone use, causing serious accidents and sometimes fatalities. Further, 57 percent of those killed because of this recklessness are teenage drivers, themselves.
“Teens have the highest crash risk of any age group, and research confirms that distraction is often a factor,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “Eliminating distraction caused by electronic devices and passengers, two of the main culprits for novice drivers, is essential, and back to school season is the perfect time to share this message.” “When it comes to distracted driving, we are particularly concerned about young drivers,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. “Inexperience behind the wheel, combined with the many distractions teens encounter, can have serious consequences.”
However, to be fair and honest, teens are not the only drivers guilty of cell phone use while driving. During any given rush-hour, working adults can be seen connected to their devices while driving. Cell phone talking and, especially texting, has nearly become an epidemic on the road, causing needless fatalities. And often, more experienced drivers also are more overconfident – they think they can manage to talk or text without a problem. Statistics tell us they can’t.
Law enforcement has taken notice and is on the look-out for anyone, teen or adult, on the phone while on the road. For example, now in New York, if you are under 21 and get pulled over for cell phone abuse, you will face a 120-day license suspension for the first offense, and one year for the second. If you are an adult and get more than 11 points on your license in an 18-month period, your license can be suspended.
Of course, these penalties mean nothing when weighed against the potential tragedies this recklessness can cause to an injured party or to his or her family members. Hopefully, the preventive measures put in place by the GHSA will have a positive effect and cut down on the senseless accidents caused by cell phone use and abuse. But, if you’re ever injured in a car accident and suspect that cell phone abuse is the culprit, look for witnesses to the accident, take down their contact information, and most of all, let your personal injury attorney know your suspicions.