Reduction in Reno car accidents could result from text messaging ban
Nevada’s lack of movement on outlawing text messaging or other dangerous driving behavior was one of the main topics of conversation at the last national Distracted Driving Summit, on Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C.
Advocates say banning text messaging, and/or hand-held cell phone use while driving, could reduce the number of serious and fatal Reno car accidents and accidents elsewhere in Nevada. Nationwide, an estimated 6,000 people according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in 2008 that the state estimates up to 30 percent of fatal accidents are caused by distracted driving. That article was in regards to a possible text messaging ban that never materialized.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that Nevada is one of only a few states who have done nothing about the issue. Others include Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. Thirty states now ban text messaging by all drivers – 11 of those states have enacted laws this year.
The government hopes the summit can be used as a tool to induce states to enact tougher safety measures.
"Working together, we can put an end to the thousands of needless deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving each year", said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary – Ray LaHood; "By getting the best minds together, I believe we can figure out how to get people to put down their phones and pay attention to the road."
If asking nicely doesn’t work, all signs point to the use of the stick; withholding federal highway dollars was the primary means used to get states to fall in line when it comes to speed limits and a uniform standard for drunk driving offenses. Most Reno injury attorneys and Reno wrongful death lawyers concur with these tactics.
Media reports indicate that Congress is already considering the use of highway funding as a motivator for states that have been slow to act. It worked in Nevada, where recently legislation went into affect banning texting while driving and the use of a hands-free device for all phone calls. As of Oct 1st, drivers will be given a warning. After the 1st of the year, citations with fines will be handed out to drivers breaking the new law.
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