Friday, June 11, 2010

Los Angeles Mayor and Officials Rally Against Texting While Driving

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has added his voice to a growing number of groups and organizations that warn against the evils of texting while driving during the launching of the "No Texting While Driving" public safety campaign which is being led by AT&T.

Although the mayor admitted that he had a driver and that he never drives around anymore, it is a pet peeve of his when he sees people on the road who are texting while driving. Mayor Villaraigosa claimed that it is unacceptable and that children should be aware that nothing, not even a text message, can be more important than their safety.

In his message, the mayor stated facts which include:

• National Safety Council estimates that 28 percent of annual traffic accidents were caused by motorists talking or texting while driving.
• A Virginia Tech study reveals that drivers are 23 times more likely to have an accident while sending a text message.
• Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reports that 26 percent of American teens of driving age say they text while driving while 48 percent of children ages 12-17 have been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was texting while driving.

Further according to Fire Chief Millage Peaks, his paramedics respond to 36,000 traffic accidents annually; nearly 28 percent of which are probably related to either cellphone use or texting. In short, that amounts to 9,000 preventable Los Angeles accidents had people followed the law and not texted while driving.

Police Chief Charlie Beck, who also delivered a message, said that texting while driving is against the law and a fine will be imposed ranging from $40 to about $100.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents and as seen from above, texting while driving is clearly a huge traffic safety problem.

All drivers are bound under the law to observe due care and diligence when operating a motor vehicle. Sending or reading messages while driving may seem like a harmless activity but this is a breach of the driver’s duty of due care and diligence. This would result to fault or negligence, which, in the case of a car accident, can hold the texting driver liable for any loss, injury or death.

During the campaign, teens were asked to read the last text message they sent or read and AT&T asked them, "Is that worth dying over? Is it worth hurting yourself, your passengers? Is it worth hurting or killing another person?"
So the next time you hear a familiar tone for an incoming message, before you reach for your cell phone while driving, ask yourself the same questions. Because otherwise, if you can’t wait to text while driving, you better be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.