Freeman Grapevine knows that one of the most recently developed and dangerous habits that drivers do is talking, or texting while driving. Arlington, TX knows it. Apparently they are cracking down hard on using your cell while driving. There are electronic signs placed in high traffic areas warning drivers that it is now illegal to text and drive in Arlington. Apparently, with more information coming out on the amount of accidents and fatalities caused by using your phone while driving, law enforcement offices across the country have stepped up efforts to cut down on phone use while driving. Last year, a pilot program was started in New York and Connecticut to see if high visibility enforcement of these laws to stop drivings from continuing these practices.
Results have come back from these programs, and they look to be very promising. Consumer Reports has a story about the program, and the results that have come from them.
A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that after four enforcement waves, running for a year starting in April 2010, hand-held cell phone use while driving dropped 57 percent in Hartford and 32 percent in Syracuse. Texting while driving declined 72 percent in Hartford and 32 percent in Syracuse. (The difference may be partially attributed to New York state’s texting law being a secondary offense, meaning police must pull over the driver for another offense, whereas in Connecticut it is a primary offense.) This information was determined through cell phone use observed by NHTSA before and after each wave.
The government agency also surveyed the public on their knowledge of the distracted driving program and found that awareness of the main “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” slogan increased from 5 percent before to 54 percent after the waves in Hartford and 5 percent before and 29 percent after in Syracuse. After the program, 71 percent of respondents in Hartford heard about the stepped up police enforcement and 76 percent in Syracuse.
After the one-year program, Syracuse police issued 9,587 tickets to drivers who were talking or texting on cell phones behind the wheel and police in Hartford issued 9,658 tickets.
This program may be implemented across the country, so be sure that you know the consequences if you are caught driving while texting or talking.
All of us here at Freeman Grapevine are serious about driving safety. You can’t pay attention to the road if you are paying attention to your phone. Be smart.