From Mobile to Gadsden and Auburn to Florence, motorists all across Alabama have seen the effect of drunken driving enforcement throughout the state. Police agencies and local law enforcement departments have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to driving while intoxicated. Although driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious charge, the state may be looking elsewhere for addition sources of traffic fatalities.
As a Birmingham DUI defense lawyer, I represent Alabama drivers who have been arrested for inebriated driving. But more and more we may see arrests for other kinds of non-alcohol traffic offenses, but judged just as dangerous as DUI. According to reports, recent traffic safety data points to cell phones as presenting a distinct hazard to safe travel on public roads.
Based on these new statistics, talking and/or “texting” while driving has been pointed to as the cause for nearly 30 percent of all automobile crashes across the state. And while it's not uncommon to see drivers reading, eating, adjusting their sound systems or disciplining their kids all while driving a vehicle at significant road speeds, talking on a cellphone or texting are big problems, according to authorities.
Based on news reports, the National Safety Council (NSC) announced that 1.6 million of the crashes that occur each year across the nation are caused by drivers using cell phones – that equates to 28 percent of all traffic crashes. Out of that 1.6 million crashes, the NSC says 200,000 are caused by drivers who were texting while driving.
Apparently, this happens with extreme frequency. A study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reportedly showed that 53 percent of motorists around the U.S. said they have used a cellphone for either talking or texting while they were driving. That same study indicated that 60 percent of the drivers said they use a hand-held phone, compared to 34 percent who use a hands-free phone.
What some people have suggested is that cellphone use while driving could someday be treated like driving under the influence of alcohol. If that is so, could any one of us be arrested for TWD, or texting/talking while driving? Nobody can be certain, but there is always a chance.
Cell phones can be hazards, TimesDaily.com, January 25, 2010