An Examination of the Growing Epidemic of Distracted Driving

Too many unnecessary accidents and tickets are the effect of distracted driving that could be avoided. Distracted driving includes texting, eating and drinking, talking to passengers etc. Over the years and the constant up-keep of law enforcement, the amount of deaths and the amount of tickets per year are decreasing. Distracted driving was known as the growing epidemic. One way we got word out about how bad distracted driving is through education. Many schools host seminars and presentations on the outcome of what distracted driving could do in worse cases possible. Law enforcement and the government want people and drivers to understand what could happen to you if you get distracted while driving. Death and penalties.

In 2011 over 3,722 deaths in New York were caused by distracted driving. This data includes no seatbelts, drunk driving, distracted driving, deaths by day dreaming and deaths by using your mobile device. An additional 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents. Of the people who were driving, they caused an additional 21,000 innocent victims to be injured. Of the drivers age 16-19 involved in fatal incidences, 11 percent of them were reported to be distracted at the wheel. This age group contains the largest portion of distracted drivers.

During the year 2011, 495 non-occupants were killed in distraction affected crashes. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over all in 2011, 5 percent of drivers nationwide were using a hand-held device, while driving is down from its 6 percent of recent years. A Deadly Epidemic as NHTSA would describe distracted driving. Many laws are being introduced by NHTSA and were taken action in New York and Connecticut in 2001 and 2005 banning the use of mobile devices. To date 32 states and the District of Columbia have banned hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.

In January 2014 until October 2014 over 41,000 tickets were issued in New York State for distracted driving. “For young drivers, a cell phone can be more dangerous than a bottle of alcohol. For teen drivers, texting while driving creates more fatal accidents than drinking while driving.” Cuomo said in his State of State address this past January. The new laws created by the NHTSA say you must abide by their specific rules in order to get out of paying from $150.00 up to $200.00 for your first offence.

The maximum fines for texting while driving happen if you have 2 offences within 18 months of each other with fines from $400.00 up to $450.00. While getting this ticket, it added 5 points to your license. Where if you get 11 points within an 18 month period, your license may be suspended and you must take a drivers safety course. Points are offences and crimes you made while driving. As of July 2014 19,291 tickets were issued in New York this year, compared to last year’s 23,808 tickets from the beginning of 2013 until June 2013.

Throughout Brian Goetz 5 counties, the priority list of things to watch out for has changed. Everyone was always stressed to not speed and to not drive while drunk, while nobody was stressing about not to be distracted and drive. The tables have turned now. “The Growing Epidemic” is finally being noticed and taken care of. Troop B- Ray Brook officer Brian Goetz explains that he can honestly say that being distracted while driving is the worst thing you can do behind the wheel.

From 2011 to present they have mainly focused on people who were doing something that takes their vision and focus off of the road. They also know that there is other things to watch out for as well. Troop-B use to have a list in order of what to watch out for from greatest risk to least risk, but that has recently changed. It used to be, from highest risk to lowest risk, DWI, distracted driving, speed, and then seatbelts. Now the list has changed to distracted driving, DWI, speed, and then seatbelts. Ticket, crash, and death percentages have all gone down due to education and the law enforcement always on a look out for people who are just waiting to cause havoc.

Is one text message really worth dying for? Every times you pick up your phone, a drink, or change the radio station, you take your attention away from what really matters. Looking away from the road for 3 seconds going 55 mph is enough time to travel a whole football field.

How many objects or people do you pass in that distance? You can kill or be killed in this time. Tell the person you are talking to that you are going to drive and that you will let them know when you get to your destination. Let your passenger change the radio station. Do not get food to-go, just sit down for 10 minutes and eat whatever you have. Little things you do when you drive can be the most dangerous even when you think they are harmless. Your life should be your number 1 concern at all times. Take what steps you can to preserve everything you have.

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