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Grant to help fund new anti-texting-and-driving measures

Earlier this year, Ohio joined the growing list of states with bans on texting and driving, yet many states are discovering how difficult it is to stop texting and driving and enforce the bans.

A total of 38 states ban texting while driving, and many municipalities have their own texting and driving ordinance.  In many cases, the law only bans texting and driving, not all cellphone use. This makes it difficult for police, as they must prove someone is texting and not using their cellphone for some other, legal purpose. In Minnesota, police wrote only 1,200 tickets for texting in 2011. In Scranton, PA, police issued only 10 tickets in the first six months after that state’s ban took effect, and one of those was to a driver who admitted texting after a crash.

This difficulty has forced law enforcement agencies to seek out new avenues for cracking down on illegal texters. A new $550,000 federal grant announced last week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will allow police departments in Massachusetts and Connecticut to test a variety of anti-texting initiatives in the next two years. The measures – everything from ad campaigns to roving patrols – are designed to find “real-world protocols and practices to better detect if a person is texting while driving,” according to NHTSA chief David Strickland.

One new measure the grant will help fund is spotters on overpasses and other roadways who can identify drivers who are typing behind the wheel. There is already proof that a program like this can work.

Earlier this month, police in Bismarck, ND, wrote 31 distracted driving tickets in two days as part of a crackdown. Officers used unmarked, high-riding trucks or SUVs to peer down into cars and catch texters in the act. Because North Dakota bans texting and Internet browsing while driving, officers had to be able to see what drivers specifically were doing with their phones. One officer said they could have written twice as many tickets but didn’t have enough evidence.

The personal injury attorneys of Elk & Elk have seen too many cases of drivers injured because of other drivers’ distracted driving. Because of these tragic situations, we are in favor of in steps to help keep drivers focused on the road and not on their electronic devices. Thousands of American motorists have fallen victim to distracted driving and everything must be done to end this epidemic.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact the personal injury lawyers of Elk & Elk today. We will put our experience and resources to work to get you the results you need. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today or fill out our convenient online consultation form.