"(Distracted driving is) anything that takes attention away from driving. It's the No. 1 contributing circumstance to all traffic crashes in both Missouri and nationwide," said Capt. Tim Hull of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Cell phone use contributed to nearly 2,000 car accidents in Sikeston and elsewhere throughout Missouri in 2009, according to the Missourian. The problem continues to grow: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports a 50% increase in texting and other handheld device use while driving in 2010.
Our Cape Girardeau car accident attorneys understand that as technology continues to evovle, so will the potential distractions available in our vehicles. With no state laws governing the use of cell phones by drivers, motorists will continue to be at high risk for distracted driving accidents. That could change one day, if Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., gets her way.
McCarthy has introduced legislation (H.R. 2333: The Safe Drivers Act of 2011) that would ban drivers from using a cell phone for all states across the county. Last December, in response to rising accident and fatality rates, McCarthy issued a press release calling again for the passage of a national ban. Currently, these types of laws are managed by individual states. If H.R. 2333 gains ground, the U.S. Department of Transportation would be required to set up a nationwide standard, prohibiting cell phone use while driving, according to Auto Trends Magazine.
"Driving while making a phone call, texting or using apps can be as dangerous as driving drunk, and much more common," Rep. McCarthy said. "With some basic commonsense rules that are already in place in some parts of the country, we can reduce injuries and save lives in America."
The only law that is currently in place to regulate driver distraction in Missouri, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, is one that prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from text messaging. All other drivers are free to do as they wish behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.