Needless to say the accident has garnered national attention for proponents of a nationwide distracted driving ban and specifically a ban on texting while driving. It seems likely that given the driver, Brian J. Anderson, 22, of Idaho Falls, survived the crash without any serious injuries, and that he was texting as he collided with the parked patrol car, he might just because the poster child for the dangers of texting while driving.
Repeated studies have shown that drivers who text behind the wheel are at a much higher risk of having a serious accident, or even causing or suffering a fatality while engaging in this behavior. A recent study by the National Traffic Safety Administration showed that distracted driving now causes more traffic fatalities than crashes caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
Despite these studies many drivers continue to engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel. They text, talk on their cell phones; chat with passengers in their vehicle or even just fiddle with their radio while they are supposed to be focused on their driving. All pf these behaviors are considered part of the distracted driving problem, and police and legislators continue to struggle with ways to control it and reduce the number of deadly crashes which happen as a result of it.
But clearly, striking a parked police car because you are too busy texting to notice the car right in front of you should be enough of a reminder that distracted driving is not only stupid it also about the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel.
By the way, the Idaho ban on distracted driving goes into effect on July 1, so Anderson was cited for “inattentive driving.”