Parents and teens still engaging in distracted driving behaviors

Most people know about the dangers of distracted driving, yet it remains a problem nationwide. Each year, states try to pass tougher laws to help reduce the number of distracted driving accidents. State and federal governments continue to develop ad campaigns designed to increase awareness of the problems that distracted driving may cause.

Teen drivers are often the age group most associated with texting while driving. Many states, including Massachusetts, have laws in place that prohibit teens from texting while driving. A survey of teen drivers by Liberty Mutual along with the Students Against Destructive Decisions shows that despite the laws in place, there is still an alarming number of motorists engaging in distracted driving.

Nearly 60 percent of those teens that responded in the survey reported seeing their parents text while driving. For teen drivers, 78 percent stated that they had sent texts while driving. These numbers are extremely concerning to officials that want to limit the number of distracted driving accidents.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for a driver to text or surf the internet while driving. Those who are caught doing either one of these activities may be fined $100 for a first offense. Repeat offenders see fines increase substantially. Additionally, all school and regular bus drivers, as well as those motorists under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cellphones while driving.

Each year, new distracted driving laws are proposed that would place further restrictions on the use of electronic devices while driving. Despite repeated calls from federal and state officials to put stronger laws in place, these laws fail to gain the support necessary to pass.

This is frustrating to law enforcement, because it can be extremely difficult for them to spot drivers who are texting while driving. If an officer pulls someone over that they think was texting, the driver may claim to have been dialing a number to place a call, which might not be prohibited under the law.

To help police across the state, Massachusetts is receiving federal funding to develop new methods of catching distracted drivers in the act. This may include stationing officers on overpasses. If an officer sees someone texting, he or she can relay this information to other officers who may then make a traffic stop.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to understand the options that may be available. Do not simply settle your case with an insurance company, as they may not be looking out for your best interests. It is important for you to protect your rights during this process.