Cell phone use Surpasses Drunk Driving as Number One Cause of Distracted Driving Accidents.
Drunk driving is no longer the No. 1 reason for accidents caused by distraction while driving.
Drivers Distracted While Working
Lately, we have been learning of an increase of accidents among those for whom cell phone use is either required, or an assist to their jobs.
In February, 2014, Fox31 Denver reported that police officers have caused hundreds of accidents citing driver distraction as the cause. Police officers in many states are exempt from cell phone laws.
In May, 2013, a distracted truck driver derailed a train in Baltimore, Maryland . The truck driver was talking on a phone with a hands-free device. Fifteen cars on a 45-car CSX train carrying hazardous materials were knocked off the track. The accident caused a multi-alarm fire and an explosion that injured five people, which included the truck driver. The accident caused millions of dollars in property damage.
On September 28, 2014, a distracted driver of a tractor trailer plowed into a bus killing four members of a Texas community college softball team. The accident occurred in Oklahoma.
Will Cell Phone Laws Work?
In August, 2012, AAAS Science (sciencemag.com) posted an article called, “Why Cell Phone Bans Don’t Work.” According to the article, you can take the cell phone out of the hand of the driver, but you can’t stop him from trying to reach across the car to reach it. The article suggests that the driver who would use a cell phone with or without a ban is already pre-disposed to be an at-risk driver. A study tested 108 people with a questionnaire about cell phone use and a 40 minute test drive with sensors. Those who answered indicating high cell phone use drove at higher speeds, stayed in the left lane more and had “hard braking maneuvers” and “rapid accelerations.”
Pedestrians Are In Danger Too
Pedestrians have also been injured and killed either by distracted drivers or from being distracted themselves.
Drunk Driving is Now the Number 2 Reason for Distracted Driving Accidents
On Thanksgiving night this year, 2014, a Sarasota man speeding in a Porsche SUV caused a fatal collision that took the lives of two unsuspecting and innocent victims in St. Petersburg, Florida. The victims were on their way home from celebrating thanksgiving. They were just blocks away. The man was confirmed to be drunk and two officers had observed the man hit another car and speed away at approximately 100 mph just moments before.
A car is a 2,000 lb weapon made even more dangerous with inertia. Anything that takes attention away from focusing at the task at hand could cause serious and permanent injuries, and death.
Distracted Driving Accidents- Grief and Pain
What rips the hearts out of those who remain to suffer is that whatever the reason for the distraction, the life damaged or lost could have been saved with just a tiny exercise in discipline.