Around 20 years ago, New York became the first state to implement a complete ban on handheld cell phones while driving , yet a study conducted by the state police in August 2019 found the use of cell phones to be widely prevalent.
Take a look at the recent developments related to distracted driving laws in New York:
Government Studies on Distracted Driving
In 2019, New York state troopers, disguised as construction workers, studied the motorists who violated driving laws. One of the significant contributors to distracted driving turned out to be the use of handheld cell phones. Nearly a third of the total tickets issued were for using a mobile device while driving, outnumbered only by speeding tickets.
On a national level, about 9 percent of all fatal vehicle collisions in 2017 involved cell phone use, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This statistic equates to over three thousand collision deaths in a year.
The problem persists despite the law, and efforts must be made continuously to discourage cell phone use while driving.
Traffic fatalities due to driver distractions can injure people other than the drivers themselves, including pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2017 distracted driving caused the deaths of nearly 600 Americans on crosswalks, walkways, bike lanes, or off-road areas.
What Can Be Done to Reduce Distracted Driving
Stricter changes to the New York distracted driving law are needed to ensure better law enforcement and stricter penalty implementation.
Awareness campaigns are needed to ensure drivers are up to date with state and local laws. Efforts should be directed at making them understand the severe consequences of using a cell phone while driving, including high risk and penalties. With the help of state and national statistics, drivers can be educated about violations and accidents resulting from texting or talking on the phone.
Common Contributors to Distracted Driving
Here are other factors that cause driver distractions beyond the use of handheld devices:
- Eating or drinking
- Looking for specific addresses
- Singing along with music on the radio
- Pets who make noise or are loose in the vehicle
- Engaging in emotional conversations with passengers
- Looking in the mirror, adjusting hair
- Daydreaming or thinking about personal problems
Out of all these factors, texting seems to be the most dangerous because of the amount of focus it requires. Answering an urgent email request can be why a driver fails to look both ways before approaching an intersection. Checking a social media profile and engaging with friends is another risk. Fun distractions cause the driver to pay more attention to the electronic device than the road.
Results of Distracted Driving Laws in New York- As Seen So Far
Federal highway officials have been conducting studies on wireless device distractions since 1997. Nearly a decade later a
Virginia Tech Transportation study found driving while texting was three times more likely to cause a traffic accident.
More recent studies point to texting contributing to an increasing number of traffic accidents. The texting craze has
steadily grown in popularity since 2005.
New York state’s response to driver distraction studies was to ban texting while driving in 2009. Since then, violating this law has had a severe impact on one’s driving record. In 2011 the state raised the number of driver license points for a conviction from 2 to 3. By 2013 it was increased to 5 points. Today all but two states have banned handheld devices while driving.
The distracted driving law in New York has been a huge step toward reducing traffic fatalities caused by mobile devices. Much more, however, can still be done. To learn more about driver safety and keeping auto insurance costs under control, contact the experts at 01 Insurance today. We are happy to assist you amid the pandemic!