GHSA Report on State Highway Safety Programs

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The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has just released a new report on how many states are trying to prevent auto accidents related to distracted driving.

The report rates how all 50 states and the District of Columbia fare on a number of markers related to distracted driving prevention. As a Kansas City auto accident lawyer, I was very encouraged to note that preventing accidents and personal injuries from distracted driving has become a top priority in the state of Missouri. Missouri has included anti-distracted driving measures in its Highway Safety Plan. The state also collects information about distracted driving-linked accidents. Missouri has also been ahead of many states in its use of social media and social networking sites in order to spread the message against distracted driving. The state uses sites like Facebook, Twitter and eblog to educate motorists about the accident dangers of distracted driving.

However, Missouri could do a lot more in targeting novice drivers about the increased crash risks from cell phone use and other distractions while driving. The only effort that Missouri has made towards raising awareness about these dangers is printing educational materials targeted at teen motorists and their parents, warning them about their amplified risks of accidents and personal injuries. However, the state does not require distracted driving to be a component in teen driver education programs. It also does not include information on distracted driving in the driver’s manual, and does not include questions on distracted driving in driver’s licensing tests. These omissions must be corrected.

The state also seems to have ignored one very important facet of anti-distracted driving efforts prevention in the workplace. Employers can do a lot to make sure that employees refrain from cell phone use and texting while driving. Very often, motorists feel the pressure to keep their cell phones switched on, so they can be available to the office 24/7. These tendencies have increased during a tough economy, when employees are under pressure to be constantly available to their employer. Companies can remove much of this pressure from workers, by reducing the need for employees to be constantly in touch with the office, even when they’re out of the office.