The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a first-ever nationwide distracted driving enforcement and advertising campaign as part of April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“This campaign puts distracted driving on par with our efforts to fight drunk driving or to encourage seatbelt use,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Across the country, we’re putting distracted drivers on notice: If you’re caught texting while driving, the message you receive won’t be from your cell phone, but from law enforcement – U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”
Enforcement is welcome but individual drivers who commit to putting down the electronics and paying attention to the road is what it will take to reduce the risk of distracted driving collisions.While our distracted driving accident attorneys in Las Vegas answer a number of frequently asked question on our website, we know safe driving is most often an issue of personal responsibility.
Studies continue to show far too many motorists take a “d0 as I say, not as I do” approach. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual cultural index report continues to illustrate the disconnect:
-Nearly two-third of drivers disapprove of cell phone use, however two-third of motorists admit to driving and talking on the phone within the last month.
-Most drivers view texting and emailing while driving as a serious threat. Yet 1 in 4 admit to typing or sending a text or email while driving in the last month and even more admit to reading texts or emails while at the wheel.
-While there is strong support for banning texting while driving, and nearly 7 in 10 support restrictions on hand-held cell-phone use by drivers, fewer than half of motorists support a ban on hands-free cell-phone use.
The National Safety Council is among the agencies lobbying hard to debunk the myth that hands-free cell-phone use is a safer alternative to using hand-held devices. While 80 percent of drivers believe hands-free devices are safer, and 70 percent admit to using them for safety reasons, more than 30 studies show hands-free cell-phone use is not safer.
“Just like you can’t read a book and talk on the phone, you can’t safely operate a vehicle and talk on the phone,” said David Teater, of the NSC. “With some state laws focusing on handheld bans and carmakers putting hands-free technology in vehicles, no wonder people are confused.”
Nevada has enacted both a texting ban and a ban on hand-held cell-phone use –putting it among 12 states to have done so, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Both are primary offenses, meaning law enforcement can stop a motorist for texting or using a hand-held device. Whereas enforcement has been challenging in states that ban texting but permit cell phone use because it leaves an officer to try and make that determination.
And, while cell-phone use gets all the attention, be wary of other common forms of distracted driving, including eating, grooming and using in-car electronic devices. Interacting with passengers, particularly children and pets, is another leading cause of distracted-driving collisions.