Are Higher Penalties Needed to Stop Distracted Drivers?
Distracted driving, especially the use of a hand-held electronic device while driving, is an ever-growing problem in this country. Legislators and interest groups are constantly questioning how to decrease the incidents of distracted driving. Recently, some states have been considering increased fines for drivers caught texting while driving.Man driving car
After a 2010 Highway Loss Date Institute study showed that current texting while driving bans were not reducing the incidents of distracted driving, some lawmakers have introduced bills to increase the fines for drivers who use cell phones while they’re behind the wheel.
Earlier this month, New Jersey considered a law that would fine drivers for their first two texting while driving offenses, and after that, distracted drivers would face license suspension. The California senate is moving through legislation that would require an increasing fine for each texting while driving violation. In Georgia, of course, texting is completely illegal, and any hand-held cell phone use by new teen drivers is prohibited.
Is increasing the penalty for texting while driving the answer?
According to AAA director of state relations Justin McNaull, seat belt studies show that drivers are more likely to buckle up if there are harsh penalties for breaking the law. This is why over the years, more and more drivers will fasten their seat belt before they drive.
Some lawmakers favor increasing penalties as well, likening distracted driving to drunk driving and calling for the need to treat it as seriously. They believe motorists who engage in distracted driving should receive more than just a slap on the wrist.
However, Gary Biller, president of the National Motorist Association, told new outlets recently that “it’s more productive to treat distracted driving as a driver education problem.” Instead of increasing fines, he said, we should increase awareness of the problem.
I agree with both schools of thought on this issue. Distracted driving is such a big problem that while an increase in driver education is certainly necessary, we might have to increase penalties as well, just to make an impact on drivers who don’t think texting while driving is a big deal. Texting while driving is deadly, and any and all efforts should be made to stop people from doing so.
Georgia is currently considering an increase of penalties for drivers caught texting and driving. As the law stands now, drivers caught texting receive a fine of $150. Since the law was implemented in Georgia is 2010, 28 teenagers and 1,012 adults have received convictions, according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Ty Wilson is a Savannah distracted driving lawyer who strives to educate the public on this important topic as well as Georgia personal injury claims and purchasing automobile insurance in Georgia. Visit tywilsonlaw.com to read Ty’s many articles, watch his videos and to order his FREE BOOKS.
If you have questions for an injury attorney in Georgia, give Ty a call at 1-888-689-5224.