Distracted driving while using a mobile phone continues to be one of the most dangerous forms of unsafe driving in Georgia. Federal regulators have unveiled a new plan designed to drastically reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers talking on a cell phone or engaged in text messaging while driving. The Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, has promoted the plan as a “blueprint” for eliminating distracted driving involving mobile phones.

The new campaign designated “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” was announced in the wake of the criminal conviction of a teen driver who caused a fatal car accident while he was text messaging. The teen drifted into the adjacent lane and struck another vehicle head-on resulting in the wrongful death of the other driver and serious injury to the passenger in the other vehicle. The 18 year-old distracted driver sent 193 messages on the day of the crash and had been engaged in text messaging just minutes before the fatal collision. The driver was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for causing the fatal auto accident while texting.

The danger associated with using a mobile phone while driving is significant, particularly when the mobile phone is used for text messaging. A previous study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed that text messaging is the most dangerous mobile phone-related activity. The study found that drivers engaged in text messaging while driving are twenty times more likely to be involved in a car accident.

The new campaign aimed at distracted driving employs several strategies including promoting legislative action, funding pilot programs in two states and urging automakers to implement technology that discourages distracted driving practices. There are currently eleven states that have no laws that prohibit mobile phone use when driving so LaHood has urged those states to enact legislation restricting mobile phone use by motorists. He has also urged Congress to enact a national ban on text messaging while driving but stopped short of providing an actual bill.

Another part of the blueprint for eliminating cell phone use while driving involves expanding a pilot program that has proven effective in two U.S. cities. Syracuse and Hartford achieved impressive results in reducing the number of drivers engaged in text messaging by using federal funds to increase enforcement of bans on text messaging and implementing public awareness programs. The program produced impressive results in both cities with Hartford seeing a 72 percent reduction in text messaging and Syracuse experiencing a 32 percent reduction. The program includes the allocation of $2.4 million to California and Delaware to see whether police crackdowns and education programs used on a citywide basis in the first part of the pilot program will prove effective when implemented on a statewide basis.

The final component of LaHood’s blueprint to discourage distracted driving involves urging automakers to develop vehicle features that do not promote distracted driving. The plan calls for automakers both to reduce distractions when equipping vehicles and to inhibit distracting devices when brought into the vehicle. LaHood did not specifically outline a specific proposal for equipping motor vehicles with signal blocking technology or prohibiting vehicle manufacturers from equipping vehicles with devices that may distract drivers.

If you prematurely lose someone you love or have been injured in a collision with a texting driver, you may have the right to financial compensation for your injuries. Our Georgia auto accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.