Montlick and Associates Applaud New National Campaign to Battle Distracted Driving
Federal safety experts have unveiled a shocking new tool that is designed to discourage the dangerous practice of texting and driving. The DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has produced a thirty second video that uses powerful imagery to drive home the potential consequences of text messaging behind the wheel. This new distracted driving prevention effort is comprised of both a national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown. The stepped up law enforcement efforts will coincide with an $8.5 million dollar advertising campaign according to the NHTSA announcement.
In a graphic video used in the ad campaign, a group of teenagers are talking and laughing as the driver receives a text. When the driver looks down, the car runs a red light before being hit by a tractor-trailer. The car rolls off a high overpass and plunges a substantial distance onto the concrete below. The police officer who appears at the end of the video says that no one wants a traffic citation, but a ticket might have save the lives of the people in the vehicle.
The frightening imagery in this new public service announcement (PSA) is designed to capitalize on research indicating that stronger enforcement combined with PSAs and other forms of education provide the most effective way to deter unsafe driving practices. In fact, a NHTSA study revealed that when the two strategies were used together in three different states the prevalence of handheld phone use dropped by a third. The risk of distracted driving is especially dangerous for teen drivers who have less experience dealing with distractions behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Although extensive steps have been taken to reduce distracted driving by teen drivers, this unsafe driving behavior continues to be a significant cause of permanent debilitating injuries and fatalities. According to the federal government website distraction.gov, approximately 421,000 people suffered injuries in collisions caused by distracted drivers during 2012. This number constituted almost a ten percent increase from the number of distracted driving injuries during the prior year.
While any form of distraction like talking, applying makeup, reaching for an object or eating increases a motorist’s accident risk, texting while driving is especially dangerous. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the average time needed to divert a driver’s eyes from the roadway to read a text message is comparable to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph while blindfolded.
The NHTSA has offered a number of recommendations for drivers to reduce the risk of suffering serious injury in a distracted driving collision:
- You should always buckle up because this is the best way to prevent or reduce injury caused by a distracted driving accident.
- Drivers should power down and store electronic devices out of reach before starting their engine.
- Passenger should speak up if drivers intend to use their phone to text or call. This might include offering to make the call, read the message or send a text for the driver.
- Parents should model attentive driving and discuss the risks of distracted driving with their kids.
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If you or a loved one is injured or a loved one dies in a collision caused by a distracted driver, our experienced Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years.
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