What are distracted driver laws?

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In a nutshell...
  • Distracted driving is essentially any action a driver engages in that does not have to do with operating a vehicle.
  • The majority of states have passed distracted driver laws and many even have unique laws just for teenage drivers
  • Play it safe and never talk or text when driving

Distracted driving takes many forms and poses a serious risk to drivers of all ages and walks of life.

Although the introduction of the mobile phone certainly initiated the debate about the consequences of distracted driving, it has been the popularity and dangers of text messaging and social media use while driving that has forced many states to pass distracted driver laws.

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What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is essentially any action a driver engages in that does not have to do with operating a vehicle.

Text messaging, GPS Navigation, turning radio dials are all examples of distractions which increase the risk of an accident.

Some actions may not even be considered distractions by some drivers so you need to understand that distractions are commonplace on today’s roads and fall into three categories.

These three categories are:

  • Manual Distractions – When you take your hands off the wheel
  • Visual Distractions – Removing your eyes from the sight of the road
  • Cognitive Distractions – Being distracted by thinking about something else

All drivers have been guilty of driving while distracted at some point, however, with today’s technology commonplace in vehicles, it’s critical to be aware of the responsibility you have as a driver.

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If distracted driving is so dangerous, why do people engage in it?

Distracted driving is rarely intentional but simply a combination of all the pressures in life and the failure to realize the risk of driving while distracted beforehand.

It’s almost comparable to trying to understand why people still smoke. The risks are well known but we still live in a world where “it can’t happen to me” is commonplace.

The mobile phone has connected us greater than ever before and with the popularity of social media such as Facebook the world is growing where people feel like they must stay connected all the time.

Sadly, many drivers fail to manage their time or prioritize their safety before checking on their friends current status.

Who is the highest risk for a car accident as a result of distracted driving?

This is pretty interesting as the popular vote would be teenage drivers.

Combining a lack of experience on the road with a mobile phone is dangerous and while they certainly may be the highest risk as a group no one is immune to this.

Adults also commonly use mobile phones, GPS navigation systems and have many distractions in the car – even a cup of coffee is a distraction.

What states have distracted driver laws?

The majority of states have passed distracted driver laws, and many even have unique laws just for teenage drivers.

Most of the other states that have not yet passed some form of distracted driver laws do have proposed laws waiting to be enacted.

In 2010 for example, 12 states passed distracted driver laws so the momentum is greater than ever before to increase road safety from distracted drivers.

What are some types of distracted driver laws?

It all depends on where you live but some states prohibit all use of a mobile handset while driving while others ban text messaging and others require all drivers to use a hands-free device while communicating on a phone.

The penalties and fines can be stiff, however, the cost and possible injury in a car accident can be much greater.

You can bet that if a car accident was caused by your negligence any car insurance company will try to find a way not to approve your claim.

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