Cell Phones: The New Killer On The Road
Almost everyone you come in contact with in this day and age has a cell phone. We use them in our every day lives. Send emails, make phone calls, take pictures, update social media, send text messages, and many other things. What about people using them while operating their vehicles though? Texting and driving has become the new fad and newest danger in the technology world in terms of driver safety. Looking down for a split second to check a text message can be the most fatal decision for everyone on the road. Texting while driving is using the messaging app on a cellular phone to send, receive, write, or read a text message while driving a motor vehicle. In the state of Georgia, it is illegal for anyone with a driver's license of under any class to text and drive at any time while operating a motor vehicle. Research and studies have shown that texting while driving increases the chances for an accident from 2.8% to 23. 6%. That is a difference of 20.8%. Your reaction time slows down, you are not paying as much, if any attention at all, to the road, causing a hazardous situation for yourself and everyone else.
Consequences To Texting While Driving
Generally, the punishment for texting while driving is a fine that can range anywhere from $100 to $600, but if you have created a dangerous situation while texting and, then you can be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.
In some states, the consequences for texting while driving are taken to the extreme. There was one case where a man was texting while driving, caused an accident that killed two people, and his punishment was a $2 million fine and six months in jail.
The DDS uses a points system to track a driver's driving record. This includes all traffic violations and could experience points for texting while driving. If a driver accumulates so many points, then there are grounds for repercussions and possible license suspension.
Along with jail, fines, and points going against your license, there is a possibility of increased in insurance rates. Insurance companies have access to a driver's driving record and can see the points on a driver's driving history. With the companies having access to those records gives them the basis of raising insurance premiums. Insurance companies like Progressive and Allstate offer bonuses for safe drivers and with a violation like texting while driving would hinder a person from their premium decreasing, but would have the opposite effect and increase.
Another consequence of texting while driving is guilt. People who cause fatal accidents by texting while driving have to carry that load on their consciences for the rest of their lives. The charges are usually reckless driving, negligence, and vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. There are many commercials in the media today that denounce texting while driving. Tim McGraw is a spokes person as well as people who have had loved ones die in car accidents from the driver who caused the wreck texting while driving, and others include the testimonies of the people who were the ones texting while driving who can testify first hand how heavy the burden of causing a personal injury or killing someone because of his or her negligence. Often times it is the person who is not texting while driving who acquires the most damage, whether it be death, paralysis, or a vegetative state for the rest of that victim's life. Sam Sliger is an attorney at the law firm of McDonald & Cody, LLC who handles traffic accidents.
What To Expect In The Future
What is to come in terms of texting while driving laws is unpredictable from state-to-state. There are not any federal laws, rules, or regulations pertaining to texting while driving. Each state makes its own laws in terms of driver's safety and texting while driving or even using a cell phone at all for that matter. Even some counties have rules and regulations against cell phone usage while operating a vehicle aside from what its state laws are. It is important to educate yourself on the subject matter of what your state and local government laws are in the case of using a cell phone while driving. Posted here is a link where you can become familiar with the Georgia state laws and regulations regarding cell phone usage on the roadways.
What States Banned All Handheld Cell Phones?
The following states have banned all handheld cell phone usage:
- ARKANSAS – applies to 18-20 year old drivers only. Additionally, using a handheld cell phone while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone is banned but only enforced as a secondary offense.
- LOUISIANA - applies to Learner or Intermediate License (regardless of age)
- NEW JERSEY
- NEW MEXICO – ban applies to state vehicles only
- NEW YORK
- NORTH DAKOTA
- OKLAHOMA - applies to Learner or Intermediate License
- VERMONT - ban applies only in work zones
- WEST VIRGINIA
What States Have Banned Texting While Driving?
All of the states have banned every day motorists from texting while driving except:
Note that Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas do still have texting laws against people with a commercial driver's license and other provisions to abide by in terms of texting while driving.
Texting while driving is very dangerous and should not occur no matter what the reasoning is. That split second could change your life and somebody else's forever.