Bad Drivers in San Antonio Don’t Need a Cell Phone

Maybe you are just a bad driver. 

We know. You don’t think so. It’s the other guy. The speeder. The distracted driver. The old driver. The young driver. The tourist. The motorcyclist. The crazy cyclist. When it comes to car accidents in San Antonio, there are a lot of crazies out there. You’re just not one of them. Even if you do occasionally travel in the left lane with your blinker on, while sending a quick text message.

San Antonio wrongful death attorneys understand the role distraction plays in car accidents. Certainly, the advent of the cell phone has been no boon to driver safety. But we are not surprised by a new report in Science Magazine, which essentially found that a good driver is not made by taking a cell phone away from a bad driver.

It’s an important point — particularly given the fact that Texas lawmakers have steadfastly resisted distracted driving legislation, which would criminalize some forms of distracted driving, including text messaging or using a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Texas is one of a dwindling number of states that has done little to legislate the issue. We have a text-messaging ban for young drivers, but continue to permit adult motorists to use electronic devices while driving.

Still, despite the fact that 10 states have banned all drivers from using hand-held cell phones and 32 states have banned texting behind the wheel, researchers are finding scant evidence that such efforts are reducing the number of serious or fatal accidents. Moreover, the number of fall traffic accidents nationwide has declined throughout the economic downturn, even as the popularity of the smartphone has put one in nearly every hand.

Now, findings published in the August issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention suggest drivers prone to using a cell phone behind the wheel may not be much safety without it. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge report cell phone-using drivers are also more likely to speed, change lanes excessively, and tromp on the gas or brake more frequently.

“It’s clear  that cell phones in and of themselves impair the ability to manage the demands of driving,” said MIT Engineer Bryan Reimer.  “(However), the fundamental problem may be the behavior of the individuals willing to pick up the technology.”

More than 100 drivers were split into two groups — those who reported using cell phones regularly while driving and those who reported rarely doing so — and sent up I-93 north of Boston on a 40-minute drive monitored by a Volvo SUV outfitted with video cameras, skin monitors and other recording devices. While drivers were not given a cell phone, those who reported they were more likely to use one while driving were also more likely to engage in other dangerous driving behaviors. Those drivers also were more likely to have a history of driving infractions.

The results jibe with the Traffic Safety Culture Index, a report conducted each year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which looks at driver attitudes as they relate to various driving issues, including drinking and driving, cell phone use and text messaging, speeding, red-light running, drowsy driving and seat belt use. That report continues to show far too many drivers admit to engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, despite being concerned about the same behavior in other drivers.

“This ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude that persists among drivers needs to change before we can experience a traffic safety culture where safe driving is the key,” said Foundation President Peter Kissinger.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact The Herrera Law Firm, Inc at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.


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