Traveling during the summer can be dangerous. The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day have been called “The 100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers in Kentucky and across the United States. This is also the deadliest time of year for any driver to be on Kentucky’s roadways. Why? More drivers on the roads, more alcohol use and now, more drivers texting while driving.

July 4th consistently ranks as the deadliest day to drive. According to statistics, the most dangerous month is August and the most dangerous day is Saturday. Driving at any time can be dangerous.

Truck and car accidents kill more than 40,000 people each year in the United States and remain the number one cause of death for people ages 1-34 years old. These rankings are based on information gathered from National Highway Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and AAA.

Contributing Factors to Deadly Car Accidents

30% of fatal accidents have speeding as a contributing factor. 49% of fatal accidents occur at night.

Texting and handheld device distractions are playing an increasingly devastating role in serious and deadly crashes. The information is still being gathered on its effects, but you can rest assured it plays a major and increasingly deadly role.

Summer isn’t the only time drivers need to be aware of the dangers of traveling. There has been a recent surge in the number of Americans killed in traffic-related accidents in recent years. Some experts believe that the lack of significant driving safety laws is to blame. For years, safety advocates have attempted to draw focus the glaring lack of important safety laws concerning commercial trucking. Large trucks cause some of the most devastating accidents on Kentucky’s roadways and in states across the United States. And as if semi-trucks weren't dangerous enough, there is now the added problem of truck drivers being distracted by texting.

It’s a recipe for disaster that has already caused disastrous consequences. Many states have been slow to pass laws outlawing texting while driving. The question is, why? Trucking company lobbyist influence on government officials and lack of ability and money to enforce the existing laws is the most likely answer.

The Obvious Problems With Cell Phone Use and Drivers Texting While Driving

Cell phone use while driving:

  • Currently, 16 states ban handheld cell phone use while driving.
  • Only 38 states have laws that ban cell phone use by new or teen drivers.
  • Only 21 states have laws banning cell phone use by school bus drivers.

More needs to be done.

After Many Years of Resistance, 47 States Have Laws Banning Texting While Driving

Kentucky has no laws banning the use of hand-held devices for drivers. They do ban all cellphone use by drivers under the age of 18 and school bus drivers. There are no laws on restricting semi-truck and other large commercial truck driver use of cell phones while driving. Thankfully, Kentucky does ban texting while driving. The enforcement of this law, however, is lacking due to limited budgets available to law enforcement and prosecutors.

The resistance of states such as Kentucky to enact necessary safety laws to protect drivers regarding cell phone use and texting is nothing new. Many of the same states were slow to enact laws concerning seat belt use. The problem is an epidemic, but the solutions are simple. Pandering to voters and being tied to lobbyist groups is much of the cause of resistance. It’s a sad situation that causes an enormous toll on our population.

Fatal Accidents Are on the Rise in KY and Nationwide

In 2016 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that nearly 28,000 people died in crashes in the first 9 months of 2016 which was an almost 10% increase from 2015.

With experts believing that 95% of accidents are the result of human error, more needs to be done to educate and enforce safe driving practices. It is all too commonplace to be driving down the road and have a semi-truck blow past you like you were standing still. Worse, you catch a glimpse of the truck driver and notice they are staring straight at their smartphone screen. Something needs to change before more people are injured or killed.

If you notice a truck driver, or any driver for that matter, driving while texting you should call the police and call the trucking company to report that driver. The police need the public's help in catching these drivers and the truck companies need to know the public is watching and will hold them accountable for their drivers’ negligence. Your call could make the difference in preventing a serious accident from occurring.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law

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