Adults in Maine and other states know that texting and driving is dangerous. Yet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2011, 387,000 people were injured and 3331 were killed in car accidents due to distracted drivers.
As discussed in other posts, there are a number of distractions that drivers need to avoid, but texting is especially dangerous, and it affects a vulnerable portion of the population that may not understand the consequences: teenagers. Teenagers often think it’s no big deal to send a quick text, even when they know talking on the phone is a bad idea.
NTSA has found teens to be six times more likely to crash while dialing a telephone. They are 23 times more likely to crash if they text while driving. Their reaction times start to approximate a 70-year-old driving without a cell phone, which is particularly dangerous because teens are also less likely to have a visceral understanding of the hazards of excessive speed and leaving enough space between cars.
As you may know, Maine laws require new drivers under 18 years old to follow a 3-step graduated drivers licensing. The goal is intended to help Maine teens get driving experience with less risk than they would face as adults. Unlike some other states, Maine does not ban handheld use of cellphones for adults over the age of 18 while driving with a regular license. However, all drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.
Any driver under 21 years old must hold a permit for 6 months and may not use a cell phone while driving. Drivers under 18 years of age are issued an intermediate license. They may not use a cell phone while driving.
Most Maine teens know on an intellectual level they are not allowed to text or use the cell phone while driving. While teenagers say they know the dangers, many continue to text at red lights or stop signs or while driving, not thinking a few seconds of distraction could hurt them. Apps have been developed to disable a cell phone while someone is driving.
A device by Esurance called DriveSafe (and another device called Cellcontrol) may provide a stronger solution to the problem of texting and driving. This device can be inserted into the onboard diagnostics port of ordinary (non-hybrid) cars made after 1996.
Communicating through Bluetooth, the device allows parents to control what their kids’ phones can do. Parents can customize block lists to keep kids from tweeting, but still permit them to use navigation apps or receive calls from parents. Parents can also disable texting. Or parents can disable or limit all cell phone use other than driving 911. The device can also track a teen’s driving speed, acceleration speed, driving past curfew hours, and where the teen went. Teens that try to remove the device will be reported to their parents.
DriveSafe is free for parents with their teens listed on their Esurance policies. If your insurer does not provide coverage in Maine, you can still purchase the device independently.
If you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed due to unsafe or distracted driving, you may need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to aid in recovering the compensation you deserve. At Briggs & Wholey, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced advocate, please contact Briggs & Wholey, LLC at (888) 596-1099 or through our website today.
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