As Distracted Driving Awareness Month winds down, one must wonder whether such an awareness campaign can really save lives in the Kansas City Area. Just weeks ago, a twenty-something in Central Missouri fumbled with her cell phone as she drove head-on into another woman, severely injuring her.
The danger of driver inattention is no longer the secret that it may have been years ago. Whether you poll people at the coffee shop, the high school or the doctor's office, people will demonstrate that they know the dangers of distracted driving. Yet the dangerous practice continues. This begs the question, what will make an impact and get people to set down the phone, cheeseburger or baby rattle and just focus on driving?
Missouri law has attempted to give some bite to the bark. The state presently bans texting for drivers who are 20 years old or younger. This law understates the problem, though; recent studies have demonstrated that adults are just as likely to drive while distracted as teen motorists. While teenagers may also lack the driving skills and experience of older drivers, it is clear that distraction causes significant danger and isn't okay no matter what year you were born. Hopefully Missouri will pass stricter laws in the near future, as some motorists' survival may depend on it.
Holding Irresponsible Drivers Accountable
Regardless of whether Missouri strengthens its distracted driving laws, a negligent driver can still be held accountable for his or her actions. When a distracted driver injures a motorist, bicyclist or pedestrian they are responsible for the resulting harm. When an automobile accident leaves the innocent party with medical bills, lost wages and other crash-related damages, a personal injury suit may be the only answer to shifting the financial blame to the at-fault party.
Source: connectmidmissouri.com, "Sending a text could be a deadly mistake," April 16, 2011.