It’s not dangerous to watch “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu. There’s also little danger in text message exchanges with your best friend, or in fiddling with your Spotify playlists. All those activities are pretty harmless – unless you engage in them while driving. That’s when people run the very real risk of causing a car crash resulting in injuries.
Everyone agrees that more and more Americans are using their cellphones while they’re behind the wheel. The response by lawmakers in virtually every state has been to prohibit drivers from certain phone activities such as texting, though Missouri is widely considered to have one of the weaker legal responses, banning texting only for novice drivers.
Georgia recently enacted a law that prohibits video streaming while driving. Washington state has a similar law that adds a wrinkle: it is also illegal for drivers to sneak peeks at their phones while their vehicle is stopped in traffic or at a light.
A AAA spokesperson said, “We are seeing a trend of states amending distracted driving laws to address functionalities of smartphones.”
Fourteen states have banned all use of handheld phones by drivers. A total of 47 prohibit texting while driving (Arizona and Missouri ban it for novices), while Montana has no laws of any sort restricting phone use while behind the wheel.
Even though most of us understand the obvious dangers of paying attention to a phone rather than the traffic, many drivers just can’t put their phones down. More than a third of drivers spend an average of more than three minutes on their phones during average trips lasting 29 minutes. That works out to drivers spending more than 10 percent of their time looking at their phones.
Those who have been injured in a motor vehicle wreck caused by a distracted driver can speak with a personal injury attorney about their legal options. Contact The Wilbers Law Firm LLC for more information.