We have all seen them on the road: drivers who are staring down at their phone while driving. They might drift into your lane, or slam on their brakes to stop for traffic they didn't realize had slowed down. We pass them when they are driving too slowly or honk at them when they don't go at a green light.
These inattentive drivers are all around us, and unfortunately, efforts to curb the dangerous behavior continue to fall short. So, what will it take to stop a distracted driver? Sadly, it might take a serious car accident.
Raising awareness isn't changing behaviors
Companies have launched countless marketing and educational campaigns to stop distracted driving, especially regarding distraction by cellphone. We have heard that "it can wait," and that "one text or call could wreck it all."
These efforts have certainly raised awareness of the dangers of using a phone while driving, but they aren't necessarily changing behaviors. In fact, a recent analysis from Zendrive estimates that about 69 million people use their phones while driving at least once a day. This staggering statistic illustrates just how big the problem continues to be.
Laws may not change behaviors, either
While it is illegal to text and drive in Tennessee, people feel like the penalties are not that severe. They might have to pay $60 in fines, but that is only if an officer pulls them over and gives them a ticket. Between the relatively small fine and the challenges of enforcing laws, many drivers are just not motivated enough to put their phones down.
What will it take?
Distracted drivers may not truly get the message that their actions are dangerous until they cause a car accident. Unfortunately, it is often other drivers and passengers who ultimately pay the price for the mistake.
We can't turn back time to stop an accident or take the phone out of a person's hand. However, it is possible to hold that person responsible for the damage they caused with a legal claim. Filing a lawsuit can also help victims and their families pursue the compensation they may deserve and send a message to others that there are consequences for driving while distracted.