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Pilot Program to Reduce Texting While Driving

Kingston Personal Injury Attorney

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently launched pilot programs in Syracuse, N.Y., and Hartford, Conn., that are designed to test the effectiveness of tactics used to curb texting while driving.

The programs aim to conduct “highly visible enforcement of state distracted-driving laws,” according to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The initiative’s ad campaign carries the tag line: “Cell phone in one hand, ticket in the other.” The ads will be highlighted in the Syracuse and Hartford communities to make drivers aware that the law will be enforced. The U.S. Department of Transportation hopes that the pilot programs will be successful enough to expand them to other communities.

Despite the number of states that have cell phone bans for drivers, there have been no significant reductions in deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving. Officers say that it is sometimes hard to tell when someone is talking or texting on a cell phone. In many states with bans, they cannot simply pull drivers over for using a cell phone unless they are committing another traffic offense.

The two most recent states to ban texting while driving are Nebraska and Kentucky, bringing the total to 23; 25 states have mobile-phone bans for drivers unless they use hands-free devices.

If police officers in the states where cell phone use and texting are banned had an easier time enforcing the laws, they could reduce the distracted-driving deaths in America. LaHood says on his blog, “Talking, texting, and other distractions behind the wheel are killing people — 6,000 every year, with more than 500,000 injured.”

The best bet to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to distracted driving is for each of us to change our behaviors behind the wheel. Pay attention to the road at all times; the cell phone, radio or cup of coffee are not worth risking a car accident.