The statistics on texting drivers might just be scary enough to make you put a pedestrian accident lawyer on speed dial. Not only do distracted drivers cause 20% of all accidents in the U.S., but one pedestrian is struck and injured every seven minutes.
All over the country, local police departments are looking for creative ways to stop young drivers, in particular, from texting while driving. And while drunk driving has been declining steadily for years, the threat posed by texting drivers increases every year.
In Georgia, the local Department of Transportation says that a terrifying 82% of drivers aged 18 to 24 have texted while driving. In Madison, the local sheriff’s office had to ask the Department of Transportation for $10,000 to catch texting teens on Wisconsin roads. Sheriffs will spend the summer specifically looking for young drivers using their smartphones behind the wheel.
“We all look forward to summer in Wisconsin, and the sheriff’s office wants it to be a safe one,” warned Madison Sheriff Dave Mahoney. “Drive the speed limit, wear your seat belt, drive sober and give driving your full attention. We’ll do the enforcement on those who don’t.”
In the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, the number of citations issued to distracted drivers in Ontario County has surged from just five in 2009 to 316 in 2014.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that nine people are killed by distracted drivers every day.
“Remember, people can now check and respond to emails while driving along, with many other distractions that these smartphones provide,” says Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra. “This is a very big problem on our roadways today, and hopefully strict enforcement will help educate motorists.
The penalties for texting while driving vary from state to state, but many local governments and police departments are enforcing stricter punishments in 2015.
Law enforcement officials are unanimous about one thing: it’s better to pull over or wait to send that text. Your life is worth more than an emoji.