Distracted driving has always been an issue. But, the growth in the popularity of smart phones has proven costly. According to a recent New York Post report, traffic deaths in the United States have increased by 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015. Increased smart phone use is viewed as a major reason for this.
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) says that there isn’t enough information yet to determine how many car accidents are the direct result of smart phone use. It is surprising, however, that the number of traffic deaths has increased so dramatically this year after a big drop in annual fatal crashes last year. There were 32,675 traffic deaths in the year 2014, which is a record low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled.
The increase of traffic deaths this year from last year reflects the biggest six-month jump in traffic deaths since 1977. A number of states have yet to prohibit hand-held devices.
In New York, drivers are prohibited from using portable electronic devices. You cannot talk on a handheld mobile phone, send or read texts, view or send images, or play games on your smart phone while driving. There are penalties for distracted drivers in New York, including a fine of $50 to $200.
Whenever you are driving, please remember to put away your phone. It is dangerous to take your hands off the wheel, your mind off the road, and your eyes off your surroundings. The time it takes to look at a text or make a phone call can be enough for the traffic conditions to change.
If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one, please contact an experienced NYC personal injury lawyer to get more information about pursuing your legal rights.
You can reach Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986- 7353.