Can Your New Year's Resolution Prevent Car Accidents?

Is it too early to be making New Year’s resolutions? Of course not! The Schafer Law Office is asking everyone to make "No Texting While Driving" their New Year’s resolution. Why? Well, in less than a week, January 1, 2011, police across Kentucky are going to quit giving verbal warnings and start handing out tickets to enforce Kentucky’s ban on texting and driving. After the first of the year, you will receive a ticket if you are caught texting and driving.

Related: The Different Forms Of Distracted Driving

Inattention is deadly
Inattention is four times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. The simple act of looking at your phone and texting things like lol, idk or jk could kill somebody. We’ve all seen the television commercial where people are texting and run into someone or fall down the escalator or stairs. These are funny to look at, but they do not have funny results in real life.

Distracted driving causes accidents
Kentucky recorded more than 57,000 crashes in 2009 which were caused by driver inattention. That’s right 57,000! Distraction can take many forms. It’s not just texting and driving. The new Kentucky law is toughest on teens using cell phones because this is the group that is most likely to cause collisions. Recently, students from high schools across the commonwealth attended a State Police Driving Academy in Richmond, Kentucky. They were brought in from the counties with the highest accident rates involving teens. The purpose of the program was for teens to learn firsthand why texting and driving does not mix.

Are texting while driving laws working?
Unfortunately, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study that found that states who have passed no texting laws, it appeared that the laws did not have the desired effect. After analyzing insurance claims from California, Washington, Minnesota and Louisiana, not only were there no reduction in crashes associated with the bans, but there was actually a small increase in crashes in three of the four states. It was believed that instead of having the phone up at the steering wheel level where it is in front of where they are driving, drivers were putting it down below window level in their lap trying to conceal the phone. 

Related: AT&T Expands “It Can Wait” Campaign Against Distracted Driving

A year with no texting while driving accidents
The law is more about the message as opposed to the penalty. Kentucky wants you to put your attention back on the roadway. First offense only carries a $25 plus court costs which would be $130 in Louisville Metro or Jefferson County. Regardless of what this law is going to do, it’s time for us to make a New Year’s resolution: “No Texting While Driving.” Let’s all make this our New Year’s resolution. This will help prevent car accidents and make our Kentucky highways safer.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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