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Primary Texting Bans Do Contribute to Lower Accident Fatalities

Saturday, August 02, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3, 300 people were killed in 2011, in accidents directly caused by a distracted driver. There has been a lot of debate on California’s ban on text messaging devices while driving, and its effectiveness in helping prevent accidents. According to the results of a new study released recently, bans that come with primary enforcement do a much better job of helping lower accident and fatality numbers.

The research was conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. The researchers analyzed laws against texting while driving like the one that exists in California, and the effect of these laws on traffic accident fatalities. Several states have passed laws banning texting while driving. In some states, these laws are linked to secondary enforcement, while in other states, the law is linked to primary enforcement. The study found that states that had secondary enforcement did not see a significant drop in traffic accident fatalities as a result of the new laws. On the other hand, states that had primary enforcement for texting while driving bans saw a drop in traffic accident death numbers among all age categories. According to the researchers, that translates into an average of 19 saved lives every year in states that had primary enforcement.

Further, when anti-texting laws were primarily enforced, and banned only young motorists from texting while driving, they were the most effective in helping reduce traffic accident fatalities in the 15-to-21 age category. In states with primary enforcement, police officers can pull a driver over to cite him when they see him using a texting device while driving, and do not have to see or notice any other traffic infraction to pull him over.

Tougher Penalties Could Help Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Texting while driving is an epidemic in the United States, but Americans also admitted in a recent study that they want to see tougher penalties for motorists using texting devices while driving.

According to the poll conducted by the National Safety Council, approximately 70% of Americans wanted stricter enforcement of laws that ban texting while driving. They also wanted to see tougher penalties for violators of these laws. Compared to this, the percentage of persons who found the current laws and enforcement satisfactory was just 22%.

Many Americans also wanted to see penalties that included a point system, leading to driver’s license revocation, or higher car insurance premiums. Approximately 52% of the respondents wanted to see penalties like these. Approximately 50% of the respondents said that they wanted heftier fines for cell phone law violators, and 50% believed in the need for more stringent penalties for repeat offenders.

Approximately 21% of all car accidents are directly linked to the use of a cell phone while driving. This includes the use of handheld cell phones and hands-free sets. A California law bans the use of cell phones while for texting while driving and the use of handheld cell phones for having conversations while driving.

Other research also supports more stringent penalties for texting while driving offenses. One study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that the risk of being involved in an accident increases by 23 times when a motorist is engaged in texting while driving, compared to when he's performing other activities at the wheel. Previous studies also suggest that although Americans are very aware of the risks of texting while driving and the increased chances of being involved in a distracted driving accident, many of them continue to use cell phones at the wheel.

Cell Phone-Related Accident Fatalities Involving Younger Persons Up

Monday, March 10, 2014

Distracted driving accidents involving cell phone use is killing more young people than ever before. According to new statistics released by the National Safety Council, however, car accidents are not the number one cause of accidental fatalities in the United States. More people now are killed from poisoning, especially those related to drug overdoses, than any other cause.

However, among younger people, cell phone-related distracted driving accidents are a major cause of fatalities. In fact, according to the statistics, auto accidents caused the highest number of fatal injuries involving younger persons, and cell phone-related distractions contributed significantly to those accidents.

When it came to senior citizens in the above-65 age category, fall accidents were the number one cause of fatal injuries. In fact, earlier studies have indicated that falls can actually increase mortality risks among senior citizens. A senior’s risk of dying increases dramatically in the one year after he has suffered a slip and fall. The report finds that there was an increase of 3.2% in the number of injury-related fatalities in 2012, compared to the previous year.

In recent years, poisonings especially those related to the over use, misuse and abuse of prescription runs, has dominated injury-related fatality data. Earlier, poisoning-related fatalities often involved children, who gained access to household chemical and solvents. However, somewhere in 1993, according to the National Safety Council, the number of people who died from accidental poisoning actually began increasing, and most of those deaths were related to the misuse of prescription drugs.

Meanwhile, to reduce the number of young people dying in auto accidents, it is important to focus especially hard distracted driving. Laws that ban such practices are important, and primary enforcement and more stringent penalties must be attached to those laws. Fall accident strategies meanwhile are vital to help reduce fatality risks involving senior citizens.

New Auto Safety Laws Go Into Effect in 2014

Thursday, February 06, 2014

A number of new traffic safety laws in California are expected to roll in or go into effect in the year 2014.

At least one of those laws targets distracted driving. California’s distracted driving laws are already some of the toughest in the country, and make it illegal for persons to use a hand-held cell phone or text while driving. The new law makes it illegal for drivers below the age of 18 to use handheld cellphones or texting devices at the wheel.

That applies to the use of hands-free sets by motorists below the age of 18. It also includes the use of voice-activated communication systems that do not require a driver to use his or her hands to operate the cellphone. Basically, motorists in this category are now prohibited from using any type of cell phone at the wheel.

Burbank car accident lawyers believe that this is an important law, specifically targeting distracted driving in the below 18-age category. Teenagers are some of the heaviest users of smart phones, and also are at the highest risk for distracted driving.

Another law that is expected to go into effect in September 2014 is related to bicyclist safety. Effective September 16, 2014, motorists in California will be required to maintain a three-foot distance when they are passing by a bicyclist. The 3-foot law was passed in 2013, and is specifically aimed at helping keep bicyclists safe from taunting, and aggressive driving behaviors by motorists.

A motorist may sometimes taunt a bicyclist by driving too close, or in other cases, may simply ignore the need to maintain a safe distance from a bicyclist while passing by. Driving too close to a bicyclist increases the chances that the bicyclist will panic and fall off his bicycle. From September 2014, motorists will be required to maintain a minimum gap of 3 feet when they pass by a bicyclist.

How to Deal with an Aggressive Driver

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Aggressive driving is not just well alive and well on American roads, but it is actually on the increase. According to a recent State Farm survey involving more than 1,000 American drivers above the age of 18, approximately 64% of American drivers reported experiencing aggressive driving behavior at least six times over the past three months.

The rates of such behaviors are very high in California which has notorious problems with congested traffic. It is no secret that motorists are much more likely to indulge in aggressive driving, when they are stressed, frustrated, stuck in traffic, or in other similar situations.

It is very important to deal responsibly and safely with a driver who is becoming hostile towards you on the road, and not do anything thing that will exacerbate the situation. Make no mistake. Aggressive drivers maybe much more prone to fits of road rage that can actually end in harm to you.

If you come across a hostile driver, avoid all eye contact with the driver. Stay calm, and avoiding getting dragged into what could be a potentially nasty situation. Avoid stress at all costs, and avoid responding or retaliating in any way.

Maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. If the driver is driving too close to you, pull out of the way, and allow the driver to pass. Keep your windows closed, and the doors locked.

Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol, because alcohol impairs judgment skills, and increases the likelihood that you will get involved in a confrontation with an aggressive motorist. You need all your senses about you when you're dealing with such motorists, and alcohol interferes with your ability to do that.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.