How do we fix the distracted driving issue?

As any good personal injury lawyer – such as Toronto-based Neinstein & Associates – will tell you, distracted driving is becoming an increasingly common issue on North American roads. There are a range of causes and forms of distracted driving, including eating while driving, texting and talking on the phone while driving, or interacting with others in your car. In short, distracted driving can be summed up as anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the wheel.

Earlier this month, St. Louis, Missouri-based injury lawyer Matt Devoti wrote an article for the Legal Examiner regarding several instances of distracted driving he encountered on a single trip:

Distracted driving is all around us. And, distracted driving is not just a teenage problem.  On my way back to St. Louis I passed a professional talking into his phone, an elderly woman reading a book (really!!), and a young mother reaching into the backseat toward a child.  All of these folks caught my attention because of how they drove their cars; the man straddled the paint on the highway in his car, the elderly woman drove unusually slowly on the highway, and the young mother drove her minivan in seeming fits and starts on the road leading to my office.

All of these folks seemed oblivious to the dangerous manner in which each drove distracted. But, I guess, that’s not surprising in light of what national studies tell us of how we view the dangers posed by distracted driving.  For instance, a recent poll suggests that 88% of us feel threated when our fellow drivers use their phones, but 67% of us continue to use our cell phones when driving.  Similarly, 75% of us believe: “texting while driving is dangerous. . . except when I do it.”

Some regions are taking firm steps to combat the issue of distracted driving. The Province of Ontario, for instance, this year enacted strict new distracted driving laws, which also address cyclist safety and impaired driving. The law was summed up in the National Post:

Drivers who text behind the wheel, who “door” passing cyclists or drive stoned will face much stiffer fines under a new Ontario law that increases fines for some offences up to $1,000.

The law passed third reading Tuesday morning and will soon be signed into law. Its distracted driving penalties are now some of the toughest in the world, but the bill also cracks down on how drivers interact with cyclists. It also allows cities to build more types of bike lanes and it imposes tough fines on cyclists who refuse to light up their rides.

Called the Making Ontario Roads Safer Act, the new law is further outlined in this Ottawa injury lawyer’s interview with CTV News:

With laws like Ontario’s coming into effect at the beginning of this year, there is reason to be hopeful that distracted driving will decrease in the near future. In the meantime, victims of distracted driving car accidents can contact personal injury lawyers like Neinstein & Associates to assess possible damages.