There’s a lot of money up for grabs and there’s only one simple thing each state has to do to get it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is giving out more than $17 million to states that have comprehensive, primary laws against distracted driving during the 2013 fiscal year, according to TruckingInfo.com.
According to the most recent statistics, there were close to 3,100 people who died in distracted driving car accidents. Another 420,000 people were injured in these same incidents.
Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that distracted driving, cell phone use and text messaging behind the wheel in particular, is a growing epidemic throughout the country. Slowly, state by state has enacted laws against this dangerous driving behavior but motorists aren’t always obeying. In the state of Massachusetts, it is illegal for a driver under the age of 18-years-old to talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving. It is also illegal for all drivers to text message behind the wheel, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
“This new grant program will provide states that have distracted driving laws with important resources to help save lives and prevent injuries,” said USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood.
The funds have been set aside under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which was recently passed by Congress.
For a state to qualify to get some of this money, it has to make sure that it has one of these laws in the 2013 fiscal year. It’s important that these laws are primary and not secondary, which means that an officer can pull over and cite a driver solely for disobeying this law. States that only have secondary distracted driving laws are not eligible.
In addition, congress has also freed up another $5 million for officials with the NHTSA to use to create advertising tools to support the enforcement and awareness efforts of these laws.
Enforcement and awareness efforts, whether for distracted driving, drunk driving or seat belt use, have been proven to be effective in getting drivers to listed and to help to reduce the risks of car accidents on roadways nationwide.
Each state has 45 days upon publication in the Federal Register to apply for these funds.
Regardless of what our laws might be, all drivers are urged to remain safe and focused behind the wheel. There should never be a time when you take your hands off of the wheel or your eyes off of the road, especially when it’s only for a phone call or for a text message. This is a move that could potentially wind up ending your life or taking the life of someone else. Keep your phone in the glove compartment or in the back seat to avoid the temptation. You can help to make our roadways safer, and it starts by keeping your attention on the road!
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your right. Call 877-617-5333.
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