Articles Posted in Texting while driving

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. If you are obeying the speed limit and traveling at 55 miles per hour, that means you covered the distance of a football field. 60% of drivers use cell phones while they drive and 39% of teenagers say that they have been involved in near-crash scenarios because of their own or someone else’s distracted driving. It is well known that texting while driving is dangerous and reckless; however, 78% of teens and young adults reported that they have read a text while driving.
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According to Mont Vernon police, the driver accused of killing a man last week in a hit-and-run accident was texting just before the crash.

Travis Hobbs, 20, was charged with negligent homicide in connection with the crash that killed John Bachman, 71, on Monday. Hobbs told police he was texting and thought he hit only a snowbank. He turned himself in after seeing media reports about the crash.

The victim reportedly was getting his mail when he was struck. He was found injured in a snow bank and later died from his injuries.

Hobbs was arrested last Tuesday and released after posting $50,000 bail plus $1,000 cash. As part of his release, he is not allowed to drive.

Texting and driving accidents have become more and more prevalent as technology continues to be integrated into our daily lives. While Massachusetts has not passed legislation as strict as New Jersey, there are still laws against cell phone use in the car. In 2010, Massachusetts Governor Patrick signed a new law making it illegal for any operator to use a mobile cell phone or handheld device to manually compose a text message or access the Internet. The new law does not ban the use of cell phones to make phone calls, except to operators under the age of 18.

Any individual who is caught violating the law is subject to fines, and for those under 18, license suspension. Fines for this law start at $35 for a first violation and increase for any violations thereafter. First offenses for individuals under 18 include a $100 fine, a 60-day license suspension, as well as an “attitudinal retraining course.”
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Distracted driving occurs when a driver takes his or her attention away from the task of driving. Although most people are familiar with texting while driving, there are many different forms of distracted driving.

Types of Distractions

Visual- Visual distractions occur when a driver takes his or her eyes away from the roadway.
Manual- Manual distractions occur when drivers take their hands of the wheel.
Cognitive- Cognitive distractions happen when a driver takes his or her mind off of the task of driving.

Some behaviors can fall into more than one of the distraction categories too. Texting can be a visual, cognitive and manual distraction. Eating can be a manual and visual distraction. It’s also important to understand that daydreaming while driving is a cognitive distraction.
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Microsoft’s newest Windows software update will now have a ‘Driving Mode’ feature that will automatically silence incoming text messages and phone calls while users are driving.

4-25-13%20blog2.jpgWhat’s appealing about this new software is that it is automatically activated when a phone is linked wirelessly with a car’s Bluetooth device. The application can also be configured by the user to automatically send out a reply text message that says “I’m driving.” Though the feature will minimize the amount of distractions by blocking calls and texts, it will not be able to block outgoing calls or text messages.

Still, Microsoft hopes that the new feature will encourage safer practice on the roadways and hopefully prevent cellphone-related accidents from occurring. The update, which is the third update to the Windows 8 software is accessible to all Microsoft devices and will be available within the next coming weeks.

While this new software is a proactive approach to preventing distracted driving incidents, what drivers must understand is that they are the only ones who can prevent an accident. More and more, people are using their smart phones while driving; to access the Internet, to send an e-mail, to check Facebook or Instagram. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has established a zero tolerance policy when it comes to texting and driving and does not permit the use of a smart phone for any purpose except for making a phone call. While individuals over 18 are allowed to talk on a cell phone while driving, all drivers, no matter what type of license they carry are banned from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Distracted driving accidents account for nearly 20% of all motor vehicle collisions in the United States. In 2011, 3,330 people were killed and 387,000 were injured in as the result of distracted driving. A person who is texting or using a smart phone while driving is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than someone who is not distracted. 5 seconds is the average time a person’s eyes are taken off the road while texting, according to the United States Ad Council, and at 55mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded!
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It’s a statement that’s engrained in every driver’s head: “Don’t text and drive.” While Massachusetts and nearly every state across the nation have imposed laws against texting or using a cell phone while driving, one New Jersey state appeals court, has developed a new addendum for people who text drivers. Under this addendum, people who knowingly text a person who is driving, may be held liable if the driver causes an accident.

file000739321417.jpgThe idea may seem farfetched to some, but in fact, a couple from New Jersey used the notion as grounds for a lawsuit they filed against two teenagers. In 2009, the couple Mr. and Mrs. Kubert, were struck head-on while riding a motorcycle by then-18-year-old Kyle Best. Best was behind the wheel of his pickup truck while travelling down a rural highway road, when his friend Shannon Colonna, sent him a text message. Upon opening the message, Best’s truck crossed the center line and hit the Kuberts causing, in what court documents described as, a gruesome accident.

Both the Kuberts lost their legs in the accident. According to police and court documents, immediately following the incident, Best called 911, hung up, and then continued to receive at least two more messages from Colonna.

The Kuberts sued Best, but they also included Colonna in the lawsuit. To the Kuberts, had it not been for Shannon Colonna’s texts, Kyle Best would not have been distracted. They concluded that she was also responsible for their pain and loss. Though the Kubert’s initially lost against Colonna, they appealed the court’s decision. Their attorney, Stephen Weinstein argued that Colonna was “electronically in the car with the driver” and could essentially be treated like someone sitting next to Best, willfully distracting him. Despite the argument’s being unlikely to work, three New Jersey judges agreed with it – in theory.
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Police in Plymouth have cited texting while driving as the cause of a crash that left two teens injured early Tuesday morning.

677683_ambulance__ecnalubma.jpgA 19-year-old Manomet woman and her 18-year-old brother were struck head on by another vehicle while they were traveling on State Road shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday. The other driver, identified as a 19-year old man from Plymouth, strayed into the other lane and caused the crash near Melix Avenue. Police said that the 19-year-old male had been texting before the accident, and he was cited on charges of driving to endanger, committing a marked-lane violation, and texting while driving.

The brother and sister were taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The male driver was not injured in the accident.

Texting and driving has become a serious epidemic in the United States, not just with teenage drivers but with seasoned drivers as well. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, about 20% of all car accidents are caused by distracted driving. In 2011 alone, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 were injured as the result of distracted driving.

Massachusetts has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to texting and driving. Though individuals over 18 are allowed to talk on a cell phone while driving, all drivers, no matter what age or what type of license they carry, are banned from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers speaking on a cell phone are 4 times more likely to cause an accident. A person who is texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than someone who is not distracted. According to the Ad Council, 5 seconds is the average time a person’s eyes are taken off the road while texting. At 55mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.

Texting is not the only type of distraction drivers can engage in while driving. Rather there are three types of distractions:

• Visual: taking eyes off of the road • Manual: taking hands off of the wheel • Cognitive: taking mind off of driving
Some common examples of distracted driving include:

• Cellphone or smartphone use • Eating or drinking • Talking to passengers • Daydreaming • Grooming • Reading, including maps • Using a navigation system • Watching a video • Adjusting the radio Continue reading

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