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Distracted driving laws seek to stop unsafe behavior

Drivers in New York may be worried about the impact of distracted driving on road safety. Despite warnings, public awareness campaigns and new laws, people continue to text, surf and chat on their smartphones while behind the wheel of their cars. Even public officials have been seen live streaming on Facebook while driving. However, the families of people who have been killed in crashes due to distracted driving are demanding tougher penalties and harsher enforcement for operating a vehicle while distracted.

Traffic fatalities have gone up around the United States in recent years, and many attribute at least part of that spike to the emergence of the smartphone. Many drivers struggle not to look at their phones, send texts or check social media while sitting in slow traffic or at a red light. Many states, like New York, have passed laws that prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving; any interaction with electronics must be hands-free. Similar laws have been passed in Rhode Island and Oregon. One company that monitors phone use claims that distracted driving dropped by 19 percent in the first month after the laws were adopted.

Some insurance companies are also taking action by having drivers use apps that can indicate if they were distracted while behind the wheel. If they are found to be driving while texting, their insurance rates could go up. Other companies provide discounts for safe drivers who stay off the phone while operating their vehicles.

Someone who has been hurt in a car accident due to a distracted driver may suffer severe injuries and lifelong disabilities. A personal injury lawyer can help a victim seek compensation for damages such as lost wages and current and future medical bills.

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