The world is likely about to get much more complicated for avid, distracted drivers. In an effort to reduce the instances of accidents occurring as a result of distracted driving, Washington, D.C. has just proposed new legislation that would not only raise fines for these instances but also, continue to raise fines for each infraction. In particular, lawmakers are going after drivers who use cell phones while behind the wheel. This is being considered a feasible means to begin cracking down on distracted drivers of all kinds. A move that seems drastic to some and long overdue to others, this initiative has been stirring up controversy amongst the driving community.
Cell Phones and Other Forms of Distracted Driving
We have reached a pivotal moment in terms of distracted driving. For the first time in history, nearly 100% of drivers travel in cars with cell phones and other distracting devices, 100% of the time. Given that people are now using these devices to store vital information and many are often dependent upon them for things such as phone numbers, addresses, and even directions, many find cell phones to be vital for all drivers. Nevertheless, distracted driving with cell phones causes approximately 2,600 deaths in the United States annually and a whopping 336,000 injuries.
Moreover, studies have shown that drivers distracted by cell phones can take up to 18% longer to respond to emergency brake situations. Although the hands-free phenomenon was thought to be the answer to cell phone driving, there is no significant evidence that going hands-free has changed matters involving distracted cell phone driving, for the better. Furthermore, with at least 40% of drivers who were polled by the NHTSA admitting to talking on their cell phones regularly while driving, and nearly 10% admitting to regularly texting from behind the wheel, this could be an indication that cell phone usage while driving has become far too commonplace. Possibly a simple oversight made by a world of people who are so captivated by new technologies that they fail to fully consider the consequences, it seems that many consider certain forms of distracted driving, such as the usage of cell phones, to be normal and acceptable behavior.
Either way, when put into context, cell phone usage is equally or more dangerous as other forms of distracted driving actions such as eating, driving with dogs, listening to loud music, falling asleep at the wheel, or even applying cosmetics. As outlandish as many of these driving habits sound, many commit these acts on the daily basis, and likely far less than those who use cell phones.
The Details of the Initiative
While many are making the case that hands-free devices may be too distracting altogether, lawmakers have proposed a provision that would fine offenders $100 per infraction with fines escalating after each instance. Although many argue this is too steep, many others assert this is not steep enough. At any rate, a subject that is seen differently depending on which state one resides in, by taking a stand against this matter, the nation’s capital is setting a precedent that insists distracted driving in getting out of hand and thus, harsher penalties need to be explored.
Taking the Wheel on Distracted Driving
While there are numerous measures that can be taken in order to deter instances of distracted driving, there are few measures one can take to protect themselves that surpass that of learning or re-learning the proper driving procedures. For instance, online traffic school courses are an inexpensive way to either learn or reintroduce yourself to the best ways to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Fun and effective, these comedic courses are a great way to learn a slew of defensive driving techniques that are sure to instill the importance of remaining alert and aware while behind the wheel.
Overall, distracted driving remains one of the most important safety issues of this age. Rather than complaining about the harsh fines, or praying the cops don’t notice you on that cell phone, try enrolling in an online traffic school and learn to do things the right way!