The Star Tribune recently reported on recent efforts by state troopers to crack down on distracted driving. Troopers have been driving unmarked patrol cars to catch drivers who break the law by texting and driving. Texting and driving is currently a ticketable offense in Minneapolis. While drivers may follow the law when police cars are around, many choose to selectively break the law when law enforcement isn’t present. The hope is that the unmarked cars will hold drivers accountable-whether police are around or not.
Distracted driving results in a huge cost to Minnesota drivers. Last year, approximately 61 people died and more than 7,000 were injured in accidents involving inattentive driving. Personal injury lawyers in Minneapolis see many accidents where tragic injuries could have been avoided had drivers put away their phones and focused on the road.
Yet, will the actions of Minneapolis police actually prevent distracted driving? While the law may act as a deterrent, it seems that distracted driving is also an issue of education, culture, and values. While the consequences of texting and driving can be immense, there doesn’t seem to be sufficient social stigma around the practice. According to Texting and Driving Safety, in 2011, 23% of car accidents involved the use of a cell phone. Cell phone use contributed to as many as 1.3 billion accidents. While the consequences of distracted driving are high, the social awareness around the issue isn’t as high as the danger of drunk driving, for instance, although with drunk giving the use of an etg test could help to detect even the slightest alcohol in the driver’s system. Campaigns, such as Warner Herzog’s From One Second to the Next short film are working to shift the tide about public opinion regarding texting and driving. Yet, texting and driving remains a common practice, with 34% of drivers admitting to texting and driving, and 52% admitting to talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel. Having proper driving lessons from a reputable company would make sure that many new drivers are aware of the seriousness of the dangers and hopefully avoid them making the same mistakes. If people were to get something like driving lessons in Stockport by companies like Manchester Driver Training then they could be given all the information on the dangers of texting and unsafe driving regulations.
Individuals may also not be aware of how much attention texting requires. For instance, on average, a person takes his or her attention off the road for five seconds while texting and driving. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the car can travel the whole length of a football field while the person’s attention is taken off the road. In this period of time, a whole host of traffic events can occur, with tragic consequences. A turning vehicle, a vehicle changing lanes, or even a pedestrian suddenly stepping out into the street may not be noticed.
In 2015, over 3,000 drivers have been ticketed for texting and driving. A first offense is $50, but second offenses can cost as much as $225. Yet, fees alone aren’t likely to change people’s minds about the dangers of distracted driving. Until distracted driving acquires the same social stigma that drunk driving has, individuals will likely continue to use their phones while driving. Personal injury attorneys, like the Law Office of Martin T. Montilino, can protect distracted driving victims by ensuring that negligent parties pay for their actions. If you are a victim of distracted driving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by hiring a lawyer and getting serious about injuries you and your loved ones have suffered, you send a strong message to other drivers that inattentive driving is not acceptable in our community.