Distracted Drivers Are Major Concern in Massachusetts
May 6th, 2016
Massachusetts Attorney Serving Victims of Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers
According to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight Americans are killed every day and more than 1,100 are injured daily in vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. And, while a great deal of appropriate attention has been given to the deadly activity of texting while driving, other behind-the-wheel activities can be dangerous as well, including talking on a cell phone and eating.
Distracted Driving Fatal Crashes Are Highest Among Adults 45-Years-Old and Older
Contrary to popular belief, fatalities associated with distracted driving are not just a young driver phenomenon. In fact, in the Bay State (according to the Highway Safety Division), distracted driving fatalities are actually highest among adults age 45-64 and 75 and older. Law enforcement officials have noted another particularly troublesome issue: Much of the rise in pedestrian fatalities in recent years appears to be tied to distracted drivers.
Three Types of Distractions While Driving
The CDC identifies three separate types of distractions that are deadly:
- Visual: Taking one’s eyes off of the road
- Manual: Taking one’s hands off of the wheel
- Cognitive: Taking one’s mind off of driving
Most of the attention, it seems, is on the first two types of distraction. Both are implicated in texting while driving situations. Indeed, Massachusetts law prohibits drivers from writing, sending, or reading electronic messages, interacting with apps or browsing the Internet while driving or stopped at a light or in traffic. Violations can result in fines as high as $500. While drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited entirely from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving – they can lose their license for up to a year for violations – drivers who are 18 years or older may simultaneously drive and operate a handheld cell phone without violation. That may soon change.
Massachusetts Legislature Considering Hands-Free Devices Law
In late January 2016, the Massachusetts Senate approved a hands-free cell phone bill that would ban the use of handheld mobile phones while driving. The matter is currently being considered in the state’s House of Representatives. If passed there, Massachusetts could become the 15th state to ban the use of hand-held phones while driving. Still legal, of course, would be the use of phones utilizing a hands-free system.
Hands-Free Devices Deal With Visual/Manual Distractions Only
Some critics of the hands-free law argue that its passage could make matters worse, since the law might provide a false sense of security. Indeed, a number of studies have shown that while it may be slightly safer to talk on a cell phone via a hands-free device while driving, it is not remarkably safer. The reason: Both activities cause the driver to take his or her mind off of the road. Using a hands-free device appears to be safer. Critics worry that a driver who thinks that he or she is safer may subconsciously give him or herself permission to be less careful.
If Involved in a Crash, Look for Evidence That the Driver Was Distracted
Legal experts suggest that if you are involved in an auto crash, you take immediate steps to determine if the other driver was engaged in distracted activity – particularly the use of a cell phone at the time of the accident. It may strengthen any negligence claim that you may later file against that driver.
Have You Been in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto accident? If so, you deserve skillful, energetic, and experienced attorneys to help you prepare your case. The injury lawyers at Bottaro Law Firm have the resources to investigate the accident and fight to protect your legal rights. We will pursue your case at no cost until we win. Remember that delay can harm your case. Our experienced legal team is available 24/7 for a free consultation. Give us a call at 866-529-9700, or complete our convenient online contact form.