United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently told doctors, government officials, and others that he believes the nation should impose a federal ban on driving a motor vehicle while talking on a cellular telephone or texting. Listeners attending a recent driving while distracted summit in San Antonio were also told the practice has reached epidemic proportions. According to Hood, a federal ban that would allow police officers to ticket drivers who are caught using cellular telephones behind the wheel is the only effective way to deal with the widespread problem. Although the Transportation Secretary has criticized drivers who talk on telephones in the past, this was the first time he called for federal legislation to ban the practice.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 3,000 deadly traffic accidents occurred in the United States in 2011 as a result of drivers who were distracted by cell phones. Drivers using cellular telephones also reportedly exhibit delayed reaction times. The NHTSA stated talking on a telephone while driving may lower a driver’s reaction time to the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal limit in Texas.
The National Motorists Association President, Gary Biller, believes a federal law against cell phone use is unnecessary. According to Biller, such behavior is already addressed by existing state prohibitions against distracted driving. He said a driver may be distracted by a companion, tuning the radio, eating, or any number of other behaviors which regularly take place in a car. Biller believes more resources should be allocated to public service campaigns against all forms of distracted driving instead of lobbying for a new federal law against one specific behavior.
LaHood disagreed with Biller’s concerns about other forms of distracted driving by stating not everyone performs such activities in a motor vehicle. LaHood stated everyone has a mobile telephone and mistakenly believes it is acceptable to use it while operating an automobile. The Transportation Secretary also said the nation’s attitude about the use of cellular phones behind the wheel is too nonchalant and the behavior should be treated more similarly to driving while intoxicated. Currently, thirty-eight states prohibit or restrict the use of cellular telephones and other electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Unexpected automobile accidents occur every day in Texas. If you or a loved one was hurt by a distracted driver, you are advised to contact an experienced San Antonio auto accident attorney to discuss your case.
Contact the attorneys at Carabin & Shaw if you were injured in an automobile accident. Our hardworking Austin car accident lawyers are available to answer your questions and help you file your claim. At Carabin & Shaw, our skilled personal injury lawyers represent clients throughout the State of Texas including Laredo, El Paso, Seguin, Beaumont, Rockport, Austin, Beeville, McAllen, and San Antonio. To schedule a free confidential consultation, contact Carabin & Shaw through our website or call us toll free at (800) 862-1260.
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