Distracted driving is an issue that continues to expose drivers, passengers, and pedestrians to a series of risks. Whether drivers use handheld or hands-free devices.
As the number of distracted driving-related crashes increases, the risks become more real for countless drivers who might not be distracted often, but who might encounter other drivers who happen to be distracted. As most of the states in the country work to pass new laws that target distractions that could expose others to crash risks, drivers are urged to heed new rules. But are states doing enough to curb distracted driving?
According to a series of news reports, Massachusetts may join Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and several others by banning handheld use of mobile electronic devices while the driver is operating the vehicle.
A bill that targets drivers who use handheld phones to talk is now being reviewed in the Senate. If it passes, drivers in the state would face a fine of $100 for the first violation. A second violation would cost the driver $250, while any other violations after the second would cost $500 each.
While the bill targets drivers who use handheld devices, consumers who are using hands-free technology to call get a free pass.
A study carried out by AAA showed that even hands-free technologies may increase the risk of distracted driving.
The problem with using voice-to-text systems, the study confirmed, is that cognitive distractions may cause the driver to become slower to respond. In emergencies, a slower drive may not be able to react in time to avoid crashes.
Another issue with the hands-free technology is that it make cause the driver to fail to see pedestrians and other subjects. If that’s the case, crashes may ensue.
Hopefully, more research is carried out so we can better urge our lawmakers to produce legislation that help protect drivers everywhere. While the Massachusetts legislation is not perfect, it could help to keep the number of distracted driving crashes in the state low.
Here in Washington, drivers should be reminded that safe driving techniques will help to keep them safe and alive. Distracted driving, whether it’s tied to phone use or conversations with passengers should not be part of your routine.
Stay safe and avoid crashes by putting your phone down and focusing on the road ahead.
For more on the new bill banning handheld phone use that is now under review, follow this link.