LOS ANGELES TIMES correspondent Michael Fumento’s article demonstrates why driving and texting is more dangerous than driving under the influence (DUI). Car and Driver Magazine’s 2009 study using two of its staffers, concluded that a drunk driver reacted to sudden breaking better than a driver reading an E-mail, and dramatically better than a driver who was texting while driving. A 2007 Harris interactive poll showed participants disregard the laws prohibiting texting while driving, despite being in favor of banning the activity. Other studies conducted at Virginia Tech, illustrated that texting is 17 times more hazardous than driving and talking on the phone.
Applicable California law
The laws dealing with the problem of texting while driving and their effectiveness was addressed at the Transportation Department’s Summit in September 2010. California’s laws and penalties regarding this issue have had little effect since there is almost no enforcement (California Vehicle Code 23123 and 23124 ). When compared to DUI violations that carry jail sentences, license suspension, and fines up to a $1000 for first time offenders, a first offence for texting while driving is a $20 fine, and $50 for subsequence violations. The results of two pilot programs conducted by the Connecticut and New York Department of Transportation, show that a combination of vigilance in enforcement by police officers and public service announcements had a significant impact on reducing texting while driving.
Heightened public awareness through education, especially targeted at young inexperienced drivers, in addition to implementation, and enforcement of greater penalties are key to reducing the problem. Auto accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, involving distracted drivers are a common cause of serious injuries and wrongful death. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney promptly after an accident is key to obtaining fair compensation for injury victims.