Text message laws preventing fatal car accidents

The results of a study performed by the University of Alabama show that texting-while-driving laws are working to prevent fatalities in many states. Even though numerous states have yet to enact such regulations, many states – like Alabama – do have such laws on the books. In Alabama, for example, texting-while driving is a primary offense, meaning that a diver can be pulled over and ticketed for texting-and-driving, even if he or she has not broken any other kinds of laws.

Different states treat texting and driving in different ways. Among the states that do have laws on the books, many have classified texting bans as secondary enforcement laws, which means that a driver must be pulled over for a more serious offense -- such as running a light or speeding -- in order to be cited for texting-and-driving. Nevertheless, the University of Alabama's study shows that states with primary texting-and-driving laws have three percent fewer car accident fatalities annually than states with secondary enforcement laws and states with no such laws at all. This works out to about 19 fewer deaths a year in these states.

Interestingly, states that have specific primary laws that affect younger drivers from 15 to 21 years of age show the best results. In these states, younger driver deaths have dropped a full 11 percent. Those statistics could be the impetus needed to encourage other states to pass similar primary enforcement texting bans.

When an Alabama resident causes a death or injury because he or she was irresponsibly and illegally texting-and-driving, victims and their families may be able to hold that person liable by filing a personal injury action in civil court. Personal injury claims arising from car accidents like this may be a way for victims and their families to recoup the cost of medical care and funeral and memorial services.

Source: International Digital Times, "Texting And Driving Bans Linked To Fewer Car Fatalities, Study Finds" Sanna Chu, Jul. 28, 2014

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