Many state legislatures have banned cell phone use and texting (or sending instant messages, "IM's") while driving. Supporters of texting bans are making an effort to curb the number of car wrecks due to cell phone use and resulting injuries. In West Virginia there was even recently a push from Clarksburg Mayor's Youth Council to ban texting while driving in their State. Those teens pointed out that for them texting is now a way of life. Since texting while driving is legal, teens, and any other driver for that matter, may be under the mistaken impression that it is safe.
Supporters and Opponents of Texting Bans
Opponents of texting bans say that these bans do not work and that the dangers of texting while driving are overrated. They go so far as to claim that the government is just enacting "nanny laws" that are intended to exert more control over people.
However, it is difficult to dispute the reality that distracted driving is a major cause of serious and sometimes fatal car wrecks in the United States. Studies have shown that cell phone usage can increase the crash probability by 400 percent. The increased probability of an accident due to distracted driving can be almost 24-fold - that's 2,400 percent - and many researchers believe that texting is a major contributor to distracted driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that 80% of car wrecks are caused by distracted drivers, which includes texting while driving. Polls show that the majority of the public supports a ban on texting while driving in order to lessen the number of related accidents and injuries.
The dangers associated with texting while driving are now well known. The issue has been debated in state legislatures for several years and even featured on well known shows such as Oprah. More than a third of young drivers admit they text while driving. Even nearly a quarter of the Baby Boomer generation admits to texting while behind the wheel. Without some type of intervention by state legislatures these numbers will likely increase as texting becomes more ingrained in our society.
Speak to an Attorney
If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a car wreck due to a distracted driver, consult with an attorney in your area. A personal injury attorney can provide you with more information regarding your legal options and help you determine which course of action may be in your best interest. Even if texting while driving is not illegal in your state it may still be shown to have been related to a crash in which you, or a family member, were injured.