Distracted driving is a major road safety problem, and it’s getting worse. Drivers are using their phones for everything from texting to watching videos. Distracted driving is now the leading cause of death on American roads, killing more than 3,450 people in 2016 alone.
As some states have passed laws to combat distracted driving, police officers have only limited powers to enforce them. Here are some things police can do to protect themselves against distracted driving:
Tag Team Effort Against Distracted Driving
Distracted driving accident cases are the top priority for law enforcement agencies across the country. Many departments have dedicated units or officers focusing specifically on distracted driving enforcement efforts to help reduce these numbers even further. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages departments to partner with local advocacy groups to educate parents about the dangers of distracted driving. These partnerships can help spread awareness about the risks of texting behind the wheel and give you additional resources for educating your community about this dangerous behavior.
Educating Drivers About Distracted Driving Risks
The best way to stop distracted driving is by educating everyone on their risks and how to avoid them. For example, if you take someone’s phone away from them while they’re driving, you could tell them about the dangers of texting while driving, how long it takes to read a text message or how many seconds it takes to send one back and explain why it’s important not to do so while behind the wheel. This kind of education can be especially helpful if you have teenagers prone to texting while driving or other teens whose friends’ dangerous behavior might tempt.
Getting Vocal for New (or Amended) Laws
Police are in an excellent position to help create new distracted driving laws or amend existing ones. Here are some ways to help:
• Ask your local legislators what they’re doing about distracted driving and whether they have any plans for legislation in the future. If they don’t, ask them why not!
• Start conversations with fellow officers and other law enforcement officials in your area about how we can do more to address the problem of distracted driving. Share ideas with each other about what works (and doesn’t).
• If you live in an area with no specific law against texting while driving, talk with local legislators about getting one passed. Or, if there is already a law against texting while driving, talk about how we can strengthen it so that people follow it.
Get Involved in Your Social Business
One of the best ways you can help reduce distracted driving is by getting involved in your social business community. By joining Texting While Driving Solutions groups, you can meet other people who share your concerns about distracted driving and learn how best to address them.
By joining these groups, you’ll also gain access to resources that will help you get the word out about the dangers of distracted driving. For example, if you want to run a campaign against texting and driving, there are plenty of ideas available by reading through past campaigns or asking for advice from others in your group.
Local police could reach a large audience. They can assist drivers by giving clear warnings or upholding state driving regulations. We all occasionally need a reminder that distracted driving is preventable and carries risks and hazards