Public Awareness Campaigns Educates but Does Not Stop Distracted Driving

Campaigns to end distracted driving, texting and driving, distracted driving accidents, and all matters of unsafe driving due to distractions have been a mainstay for many years.  On television, print, and radio, state agencies, federal agencies, nonprofits and individuals have put money into a variety of public awareness campaigns to stop distracted driving.  Many have argued that all this marketing is not worth the time or the money.  Instead, some argue, the fix must be a technological change.  Some recent data suggests that even when people know how dangerous distracted driving can be, they continue to do it.

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrates that the massive public awareness campaigns aimed at educating the public on the dangers of distracted driving and curbing the incidence of distracted driving has accomplished the first goal, although the main goal of putting the brakes on distracted driving to make the roads safer, appears to remain unfulfilled.

The study shows that, at any given moment of the day, at least while the sun is up, as many as 660,000 people are using cellphones or other electronic gadgets as they drive. On the one hand, the study showed that the years of distracted driving campaigns have made most Americans aware that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, but they tend to see “distracted driving as risky when other drivers do it, but do not recognize how their own driving deteriorates.” Put simply, while they swear at other drivers who drive erratically because of their distracted driving, they don’t seem to notice how badly they may be driving while they’re engaged in the same behavior.

Almost half of drivers surveyed by NHTSA, or 48 percent, admitted to having answered their cellphones while driving at least sometimes, and 58 percent said they tend to continue to drive after picking up the phone. One out of every seven respondents, or 14 percent admitted to continuing to text or e-mail while driving. Most of the drivers surveyed said they support a ban on cellphone use and texting while driving, and a whopping 76 percent of them said they would probably say something to a driver who was sending a text if they were a passenger in the vehicle.

While the public awareness campaigns have been a worthy endeavor.  The messages were good.  The public appears to have been educated.  However, the risk of dying or killing another has not slowed distracted driving–sort of like drunk driving.  It is time the federal government, car makers, cell phone makers, or cell phone service providers step up with a real, concrete, and lasting fix to this problem.  From signal blockers in cars to software that tracks the speed a cell phone is traveling, many different ideas have been tossed around as ways to end the problem of distracted driving.  To date, there is no fix.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident and suspect the at-fault driver was distracted, contact the Texas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.

Awards & Accolades