Tougher Penalties Could Help Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

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.

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