In response to recent studies indicating that roughly five percent of all drivers on our nation’s roads at any given time are using their cell phones, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spent a year testing a pilot program in Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, designed to cut down on distracted driving by stopping people from using their phones while driving. The campaign, with the slogan “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other,” included increased enforcement of car cell phone laws, as well as checkpoints for cell phone use. An education campaign was also a component of the program.
The program, modelled after NHTSA’s “Click it or Ticket” seatbelt campaign, began in 2010 and included four waves of police crackdowns and education campaigns in April, July and October 2010 and March-April 2011. Impressed with the reduction in the number of drivers using cell phones in Syracuse and Hartford as a result of the campaign, NHTSA plans to test it statewide in an unnamed state.
Drivers who are distracted by cell phones or any other electronic devices are a danger to other drivers and their passengers on the roads. According to the Transportation Secretary, approximately 500,000 people are injured in accidents that are attributed to distracted driving, and another 6,000 are killed each year. Those who talk on a cell phone while driving are four times more likely to get in a car wreck, with that percentage increases to 20 times more likely when texting is involved.
If you were injured in a crash with a distracted or negligent driver, you may have legal claims available for compensation for your current and future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and damage to your property.