As 2014 begins, more Americans than ever before depend on their cellphones to connect them with the world around them. While this amazing technology can be extremely beneficial, it can be deadly as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 660,000 drivers in the U.S. are engaged in using cellphones, either talking or texting, while driving at any given moment. Many of these drivers are in Missouri, partly due to the state’s lack of cellphone legislation. In fact, Missouri is one of the most lenient states when it comes to prohibiting cellphone use while driving. Jackson County is taking action to reduce the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Missouri’s current cellphone policy
While 41 states have banned text messaging for drivers of all ages, Missouri has only banned texting for drivers under the age of twenty-one, as reported by the National Conference of State Legislature. There is no ban on hand-held cellphones or texting for any other age segments. Some have argued that although teens do not have as much experience driving, older drivers are also in danger when taking their eyes off the road for any amount of time. Currently, St. Louis and Manchester Counties are in the process of enforcing stricter distracted driving policies for their residents.
The basics of distracted driving
Although talking and texting on the cellphone may be one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, there are many ways that a driver’s attention can be diverted from the road. Distraction.gov, the Official U.S. Government website for distracted driving, lists the following as key distractions:
- Programming a navigation system.
- Drinking and eating.
- Reading texts, maps or anything else that takes your eyes off of the road.
- Engaging in conversation with others in the vehicle.
- Watching a video.
- Attending to children in the backseat.
- Adjusting the CD player, radio or entertainment system.
Although you may feel that you are competent to drive safely while engaging in these activities, it is devastating to see what can happen in the few seconds that your attention is distracted from driving.
Holding people accountable for the devastating consequences of their distracted driving is crucial to reform. Jackson County, as well as several other Counties in Missouri, has released a myriad of campaigns warning others about the deadly consequences of distracted driving. Citizens are urging state officials to take the campaigns one step further by enacting a ban on hand-held cellphone use and texting for all age groups. Missouri residents are determined to reduce the number of deaths caused by distracted driving accidents.
Find an attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, it is vital that you find a reputable Jackson County attorney. It is important to hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions. You deserve to be awarded fair compensation for your damage and injuries.