Statistics gathered by the one state’s Department of Public Safety illustrate the problem of distracted driving and pervasive it is on the road today. The Perham Focus recently published an article describing the problem of distracted driving through the lens of an experienced State Trooper. Distracted driving is becoming worse over time. Drivers are busy playing with car radios, looking around aimlessly while driving, as well as eating and drinking while driving. Additionally, passengers, setting GPS devices, and not concentrating on driving are huge distractions that impede the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Even the existence of cell phone bands has not done enough to curb the scourge of distracted driving on America’s roads.
A study conducted by a law enforcement agency during an enforcement operation from June 1st to June 14th could help states like New York deal with distracted driving. In the study, state patrol troopers were assigned two saturation patrol duties to look for drivers who are not paying attention to the road. Troopers did not have to look far to find their intended targets. During those two weeks of saturated patrols, 1,034 drivers were cited for violating the state’s law that prohibits texting while driving. The fines levied by the state troopers, which include court fees, range from $100 for the first time offender to $300 or more for every repeat offense.
Governors in all 50 states want to reduce the number of distracted drivers on their state’s highways. In New York, motor vehicle operators used cellphone apps or used text messaging approximately 22% of the time while driving according to an article on Bloomberg.com. Also stated in the same article, New York City was found to have greater concentrations of in-hand phone use by drivers while on heavily trafficked thoroughfares such the Lincoln Tunnel.
Texting and driving is an incredibly dangerous behavior because it involves all three categories of distraction. Texting is a visual, cognitive, and physical distraction. At 55 mph, an auto travels the length of one football field in a truly short time. Anything can happen when a motorist stops watching the road for 300 feet. Life can change in the blink of an eye in that short window.
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