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Distracted driving kills. Seriously it is time to stop the madness.

Updated on April 25, 2014

There are no distractions climbing this hill!

One wrong move is one too many.
One wrong move is one too many. | Source

No more excuses. 3,000+ dead?

Stop talking or texting while driving. Stop it now.

These statistics are real, from the United States Department of Transportation or USDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association or NHTSA.

“The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.”

If that weren’t enough just look at who they were:

“10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.”

And it gets worse:

“Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)

We are killing our children.

There are no more excuses and people need to be held accountable.

Let us look at the societal benefit of talking on an auditory mechanical device while driving.

Short answer: There is not one. What possible reason could there be in light of the above statistics. Distraction is different than inattention. Inattention is a natural fact of life. Distraction is a conscious choice not to be paying attention. There is a huge difference. A bee flying in your window and buzzing in your bonnet and your are allergic could cause inattention. Texting someone that you are on your way is a choice you make and it is a deadly choice. And is most often the case it will be someone else’s life that is lost.

“Mr. Dierker, this is sergeant Omally from the Highway Patrol and do you have anyone with you there right now that could drive you to main and the freeway? No, well we will have an officer there in just a few minutes.” “Wait! What is going on? Please Mr. Dierker just wait and the officer will explain”

The rest of the story is unnecessary to tell, Mr. Dierker had 3 young adult children.

This guy is paying attention. Will you please, for him.

Where is his helmet?!
Where is his helmet?! | Source

It is not a matter of taking away a right.

We are and must remain a free society. Our traffic flows as well or better than anywhere else on the planet. And by better I mean as smooth as it can considering volume and miles of road and availability of automobiles. And now, our hand held mobile telecommunication devices do also. But no court ever in the land has ever held that we have an unfettered right to drive.

We are at around 300 billion text messages being sent per month just in the United States territory. We are an must remain free to communicate. But not an unfettered right while you operate a motor vehicle on a public road.

It is malicious to do so. We say yes. Reckless indifference to the wellbeing of others? We say yes. When a driver is breaking a law by using a handheld device to communicate while driving and that causes the accident the driver should be penalized civilly as well as with the statute making it a violation of law. If a drunk driver is held to that standard then so should be a distracted one when that distraction is also a violation of law.

Here is the meat of California’s statute: 23123 (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving. (the full text can be found here: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23123.htm) VC here stands for California Motor Vehicle Code.

The point being that when you do something you know is wrong and it injures someone you should be held to punitive damages in liability. Laws are there to protect people especially vehicle codes. Flagrant willful disobedience of the law should be considered reckless endangerment of others, it should be considered wanton and extremely careless. Actions as a result of this type are intentional not “accidental”.

Truly only about 7 states have made it a violation of law to talk but many more have it in the legislatures and many more have laws on texting. A text normally takes at least 5 seconds, at fifty miles an hour that is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded. If that is not wanton reckless disregard for others I do not know what is.

A California insurance attorney said this to the Los Angeles Times “”It's doubtful, Maguire said, that cellphone use rises up to California's tough standard for awarding punitive damages, which includes conduct that is "so despicable that it would offend the common decency of society." But juries can be unpredictable””

In 2003, a Palmdale jury awarded a $7.3-million verdict in a nonfatal case brought by a motorist who was struck by a teenager who was talking on a cellphone, reportedly the case was later settled for $6 million. Remind your children and yourself about that if you need more motivation to just stop. If you do not care about lives maybe you care about your wallet.

Tell the truth here.

Do you ever engage in distracted driving.

See results

Read it and just have a good cry and then get over it and act.

Sadness awaits those who are careless.

Multitasking in a car while driving is just plain reckless.

The concept of cognitive distraction while multitasking in the automobile is the subject of much research and the basic consensus is that your reaction time is slowed by 20%. At seventy that could account for 60 yards. If we are not mistaken a .06 alcohol content is about the same. That is scary. Now do that with a youthful or very senior driver and you have real problems.

How about when you use the cell phone to conduct someone else’s business. What then? If a parent is liable for the act of the child. So is an employer liable for the act of an employee. Generally an employee going to and from work (not from one work place to another) is not creating any liability on behalf of an employer. But what if they are texting a co-worker or checking their messages and they kill a pedestrian? What then? Courts are divided on this. No not whether the employer would be liable in the second scenario but whether they could be punitively responsible to an injured 3rd party and that seems to hinge on ratification by the employer, i.e. no rule against it or management ratifies it.

Don't take my babies away from me.

The next accident could take them away. Please.
The next accident could take them away. Please. | Source

Let us wrap this depressing article up.

Conclusion

So 665,000 crashes per year blamed on cell phone use while driving. It seems that the handheld versus hands free laws do little good. The experts do not think holding in your hand makes a difference. Clearly todays cars do not need both hands on the wheel.

Really now it is not necessary to talk while driving and certainly not to text while driving. In California a kill switch law was introduced and got hammered by the cell provider lobbyists. The bill would have auto –turned off a phone in a car. Problems ahead yes. Easy solutions no. Politics and big money yes. But not trying would be a real shame for all those dead and injured kids. We should be of the opinion that we should do more.

Holding folks liable for punitive damages in civil claims would get the insurance industry on board and that could really help. And we think that punitive damages do as they are supposed to do, set an example that dissuades similar conduct.

Comments

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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Good for you, same here but rarely even hands free. While doing this research I found out hand on or hand free makes little difference, it is the conversation that is distracting. As I thought about it, I see there point -- you can drive any modern car with one hand.

    • Debraw50 profile image

      Debraw50 

      4 years ago

      Please don't text and drive,,save lives.I do not text while driving,many times I have almost been hit by a driver who was texting. It should be illegal in this country to have a phone in your hand while driving.I either pull over to answer my phone or use a headset.Others can too.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Eric, this is an important issue. Having a cell phone in your hand whether talking or texting while driving, is illegal in the whole of Australia. Texting is much worse than talking because you have to look at the keys while doing it, but they are both distractions. I think just being caught using the phone in a car is something like 4 demerit points and a $400 fine., let alone if you cause an accident or kill someone. I get annoyed just watching people talk on the phone while they walk down the street so I get irate seeing people use the phone while driving. Freedom is good if people use it responsibly, too many have no common sense so in their hands too much freedom is deadly.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Sparklea, I am right now drafting legal pleadings dealing with this issue. The defense is "it is not that bad". Insurance companies and Cellular companies are really fighting against further restrictions. The chase is afoot.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 

      4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Eric, you said it well...off the charts well. Now you need to send this hub to the editor of your newspaper! I love the way you speak up for what is right. Right is right, wrong is wrong! I see people on their cells all the time. Now our rest stops in NYS read, "Text" stops. It has come to that!

      Pitiful, dangerous, and very selfish for those who ignore the laws and think that an accident could not happen to them. THAT is just plain stupidity. Keep writing, keep talking and keep inspiring. You are a classic. God bless, Sparklea Excellent write :)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I see so much stuff when my wife drives, I just love it and am a great co-pilot multitasker too;-)

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Multitasking in a car is really a bad idea, unless it's your husband who's doing the driving. Then you can multitask all you want, you can even sleep in the car.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill we's gots rains down here!!! Hallelujah!!

      Weed pulling time in the garden.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I could solve the budget problems in our city if they would hire me to be the Cell Phone Police. I could write hundreds of tickets each day. Quite frankly, it pisses me off when I see someone driving and talking on the phone at the same time.....enough said. Have a great weekend.

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