Experts who study distracted driving have examined how to best combat dangerous behavior. In two recent studies, they suggest that stronger punishment for incidences of distracted driving be used as a deterrent, followed up by a course of education in order to sustain the message. Although states have enacted regulations in a patchwork fashion, we have yet to see a nationwide concerted effort to stop texting and driving like we have seen with the public safety threat posed by drunk driving in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.)
Two recent studies have reached similar conclusions that broke new ground in terms of how we think about remedying the problem of distracted driving. First, the Associate Dean of the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas has suggested that severe punishment may be the key to stopping distracted driving once and for all. According to him, companies that have strict punishments for truck drivers who text and drive have fewer truck accidents and fleets that are two times safer than their counterparts who do not have such strict punishments in effect.
Many argue that education has never solved any public health crisis, including drunk driving. For example, when there were no laws requiring people to wear seatbelts, there was only a 20 percent usage rate. But when legislators implemented the “click-it-or-ticket” campaign, people began wearing them almost universally.
Experts note that part of the problem behind distracted driving is that cell phone manufacturers have engineered them to be highly addictive. Interestingly, when driving, the part of our brains that controls willpower (the prefrontal cortex) is occupied by the task of driving, and thus it is easily overridden, and we have a hard time resisting the compulsion to use our phones.
Other researchers conclude that punishment works best, but particularly when followed up with education. One suggestion would be to have a lock screen that pops up whenever you pick up your phone in the car warning you that it is dangerous to use your phone while driving. This kind of education would reinforce the deterrent effect of strict punishment.
Distracted driving is a public health epidemic of epic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day, at least nine people are killed by distracted drivers and 1,000 more suffer injuries. Yet over a third of all drivers report that they still text and drive, even knowing the risks.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, our seasoned team is ready to begin building your case. At Williams Cedar, we have extensive experience gathering evidence of distracted driving, and are committed to helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve so that they can move forward with their lives. To schedule a free consultation with a South Jersey truck accident lawyer, call us at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777, or contact us online. With offices located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey and we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.