Federal Government Asked to Act on Distracted Driving

Distracted driving resulted in close to 6,000 fatalities in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), which has prompted the Obama administration to take a stance on this unsafe habit. DOT and even insurers, have pushed Obama, Congress, and the public to come up with ways to make necessary chances – and soon.

The act of distracted driving means that the driver may be texting, talking on a cell phone, or even eating – anything that could make the driver lose focus and concentration when behind the wheel. Recently, DOT released data showing the results of distracted driving last year:

  • 5,870 people died as a result of accidents where the driver was distracted
  • 515,000 physical injuries resulted from accidents of distracted drivers
  • Distracted driving caused 16 percent of all car accident fatalities in 2008

Because so many instances have occurred that have resulted in injuries and death, many repercussions have followed, including hikes in auto insurance costs due to more payouts. This, of course, increases premiums, not just for the insured, but across the board. This is part of the reason that insurers have taken part in the discussion of ways to decrease distracted driving.

On the lawmakers’ end, Congress members are calling for laws that would prohibit driving while talking on a cell phone. The legislation would require states to put provisions in place that would limit driver distractions. If states were not to comply with the laws they would lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding.

Of course, nothing has passed in Congress yet, so there’s just the hope that drivers will engage in safe travels – if not for the risk of injury and fatality, to help avoid an auto insurance premium increase.

How do you feel about the driver distraction debate? Do you feel that driver distractions should be legally limited?