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Distracted driving is a problem everywhere. Distracted driving is so prevalent that it is now has a dictionary definition. As more and more Americans reach driving age, this danger to well-being and property has potential to ruin more lives and reputations. What is distracted driving? Is distracted driving really that much of a problem in America and, more specifically, in Tennessee? Is distracted driving on the minds of Tennesseans? Are there laws and punishments concerning distracted driving? What can be done to help stop distracted driving? The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., have provided some facts to help you better understand the issue of distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines distracted driving as, “The practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a mobile phone or other electronic device.”
Is Distracted Driving Really That Much of a Problem in America?
AAA now claims that distracted driving accounts for 25-50 percent of all automobile accidents. Using that prediction, that means there were anywhere between 1.5-3 million car crashes because of distracted driving in America in 2016. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that there have been 175,304 distracted driving accidents from 2007–2016. This number excludes all accidents in parking lots and those causing damage of less than $400.
Is Distracted Driving on the Minds of Tennesseans?
The 2017 AAA Consumer Pulse Survey on Driving Safety found that 93% of Tennesseans rated texting while driving as the most dangerous driving hazard. The same survey showed that 76% of the participants in Tennessee, observed drivers using a cell phone while driving in the last month.
Are There Laws Against Distracted Driving?
Currently there is no federal law banning texting or using a wireless phone (the main causes of distracted driving) while operating an automobile in the United States. However, several state governments have passed bans or partial bans including Tennessee. The laws in Tennessee include a ban on texting for all drivers and a ban on cell phone use for all novice drivers (those with just a learner’s permit) and bus drivers.
What is the Punishment for Distracted Driving in Tennessee?
The fine for receiving a ticket for distracted driving is $50 and points on your driving record.
How Can You Help Stop the Distracted Driving Problem?
There are many ways that you can help stop the distracted driving problem. First, set a personal goal to lead by example and stop texting while driving and using your cell phone. Second, set clear instructions for young drivers that taking their eyes off the road is dangerous and can be a hazard to themselves and others on the road. Third, become informed and share information (like in this article) with friends, family members, and local schools. Finally, many cell phones have added settings and features that will not allow a driver to receive text messages while they are in motion (Ex. The new iOS 11.2 update added this feature to iPhones). Make yourself and others aware of these features.
Accidents happen. Research tells us that a large percentage of automobile accidents occur because of distracted driving. Do your best to change your own bad habits and practices by encouraging others to alter theirs as well. However, mistakes or legal challenges still occur, and when it does, contact your attorney by calling (276) 451-2056 to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., are proud to serve clients in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, TN, as well as Bristol, VA.