Kansas City Crash Lawyer Douglas R. Horn interviewed by Reporter John Pepitone of
Fox 4 TV regarding Drive By Example’s launch to alert students to a new universe of risk associated with cell phone use while driving.
Distracted Driving Epidemic
As a crash lawyer, I have seen a significant increase in car crash cases caused by drivers who are using a cell phone while driving. For certain, distracted driving is a growing epidemic in Missouri and Kansas. Reports now estimate that about 25% of drivers use their cell phones while driving. As technology increases and smart phones gain additional market share, we can expect the distracted driving crisis to get worse.
In addition to helping victims of distracted driving accidents, several years ago I started “Drive By Example“. The primary objective of the DBE safety initiative is to alert drivers to the dangers of cell phone driving, encouraging them to model safe driving habits. Not only are younger drivers who like to text at risk, the dangers have spilled over into young adults who are now using their cell phones to talk, text, email, tweet, navigate, and a host of other functions.
Horn Law/MCC Partnership
Our law firm is pleased to partner with the MCC – Blue River Campus. College campuses, particularly community colleges where the students are driving to class, are ideal because driving safety campaigns can target the younger drivers who are most at risk.
Part of our initial efforts at the Blue River campus was to conduct a student survey about their cell phone behaviors behind the wheel. Surveys are not only helpful to find out the student’s specific driving habits, but they also allow us to design and implement effective safety campaigns.
The Blue River survey, conducted on Monday, February 25, 2013, confirmed that a very large majority of MCC-Blue River students were not only using their cell phones while driving to talk & text, but also for navigation and social media. With regard to navigation, it is interesting to note that car manufactures spend millions of dollars to make sure integrated navigational systems are not overly distracting to drivers. Now, new car buyers are starting to turn from integrated navigation systems and use their cell phone as a replacement.
Another interesting finding has to do with Missouri’s anti-texting law which prohibits texting and driving for those 21 and under. The Blue River survey showed that a substantial majority (85%) of those surveyed, continue to text and drive even though they are aware it is against the law.
I am hoping that this information helps Missouri transportation officials understand that if we are going to reduce distracted driving, we can not rely upon laws. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on changing driving behaviors and habits.
In my opinion, the best way to change distracted driving behaviors is to continue to be clear that using your cell phone is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Once people fully appreciate the significant risk of picking up your phone while driving, they will take steps to protect themselves. This will directly lead to accident reduction.
We look forward to making MCC- Blue River a model campus when it comes to driving safety and also create a safe driving culture that will branch out into the community.