Medical professionals call for legislation against texting while driving

The American College of Preventative Medicine recently released a statement pushing for steps to help decrease the risk of distracted driving related accidents.

The notion that texting while driving is dangerous is not a novel one. Study after study has found that sending, reading and writing texts while operating a motor vehicle greatly increases the driver's risk of involvement in a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, even with this information many drivers continue to choose to use their smartphones while they drive. In response, a group of physicians is joining in the push for change.

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), a well respected group of medical professionals and physicians, published a statement with a four part plan. The plan calls for the following:

  • Legislation. The group encourages legislatures to pass laws banning texting while driving and enforcing steep penalties for violations. The ACPM also encourages an educational campaign to increase awareness of these dangers, particularly for teen drivers.
  • Info at the DMV. The ACPM also recommends providing education on these dangers when a driver first receives his or her driver's licenses.
  • Info at the doctor's office. In addition to providing education when getting a license, the group also recommends primary care physicians are given the educational tools they need to inform their patients of the dangers of texting while driving.
  • More research. ACPM also encourages additional research be conducted to provide current data on the connection between using a cellphone while driving.

A member of the ACPM was interviewed by Reuters Health, and explained that employers should also be involved. Employers often expect employees to answer their phones and remain in constant contact, even when driving. This type of work environment can distract a driver even when he or she is off the clock.

Texting and driving in Louisiana

In addition to being dangerous, texting while driving in Louisiana is against the law. Those found in violation can face a $175 fine for a first offense and $500 fine for each subsequent violation. This is a primary offense, meaning police officers can pull a driver over for this violation. It is also illegal in the state for drivers under the age of 17 to use a cellphone to make phone calls and for those with learner's permits or an intermediate driver's license to use "hands free" devices. Fines for these offenses may be doubled if they contribute to a motor vehicle accident.

In addition to fines and fees, those who cause or contribute to accidents because they were not operating their vehicles with the utmost care may also be responsible for injuries to others involved in the crash. Victims of these accidents can hold the responsible parties accountable and are likely eligible to receive compensation to help cover the costs associated with the accident. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your options.

Keywords: distracted driving car accident