Distracted Driving: Should There Be a National Standard?

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September 28, 2018 - Auto Accidents

Distracted driving is a serious menace on the roads of the United States, as close to 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).   When a distracted driving accident occurs, The Villages auto crash lawyer can provide representation to victims and their families who need help pursuing a claim for compensation from the motorist who caused the crash by failing to pay attention.

States have taken steps to try to combat distracted driving, passing various laws limiting the ability of motorists to text or use electronic devices while they are behind the wheel. Still, accidents continue to happen every day and thousands of people are hurt or killed. Just recently, an article on KIRO Radio was published suggesting that one possible way to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents would be to create a nationwide standard.

Should There Be a Nationwide Standard to Fight Distracted Driving?

According to KIRO, one big argument for a national standard is that there is a patchwork of laws applicable throughout the country, so different states have different rules related to distracted driving. A national standard could both ensure stricter laws, as some locales have very lax rules, and could also help to guarantee that drivers from across the country know the rules and are aware of how seriously distracted driving is treated by law enforcement.

There is precedent for a nationwide standard on distracted driving, as there is a nationwide standard in place for drunk driving. Throughout the United States, a blood alcohol concentration of .08 is considered to be the standard for drunk driving, and a motorist found above this limit anywhere in the country can be subject to arrest. 

With texting, however, drivers could be in violation of the law in one area of the country but in full compliance in another. This can create confusion for those who travel across state lines and it muddies the waters regarding what is, and is not, unsafe behavior when it comes to the use of electronic devices behind the wheel.

While there is a strong argument to be made for a national standard, however, not everyone believes this could be an effective or appropriate solution. For example, the deputy administrator for the safety administration believes it is up to each state to make their own rules. According to KIRO, she said “Whether or not national rules would help, it’s still up to the individual driver to make a good, make a safe decision when operating their car. Vehicle operation by individual drivers is regulated at the state level, not nationally.”

Regardless of whether a national safety standard is passed, drivers need to ensure they are behaving responsibly because they can and should be held accountable if they cause a distracted driving accident to occur. The Villages auto crash lawyer should be consulted for help by those who have been hurt in a crash and who believe a distracted driver caused the accident to occur.