KY increases texting penalties, but are drivers getting the message?

Although no car accident is easy to accept or deal with, those accidents that occur because of preventable causes like driver negligence may be the most upsetting. Cell phone use is one highly unnecessary car accident cause that can have devastating consequences. Although texting and driving is illegal for all drivers in Kenton County and other parts of Kentucky, and although penalties for violations have recently increased, figures suggest that too few drivers may be feeling the effects of these legal changes.

Measures against distracted driving

A texting and driving ban was first enforced in Kentucky in 2011, according to 19 Action News. The same law banned drivers under 18 from using cell phones at all while driving, except in emergency situations. In 2012, texting while driving became a traffic offense, according to Louisville's WFPL News. Finally, in 2013, administrative regulations ordered by Kentucky's governor mandated a three-point license penalty for drivers ticketed for texting while driving.

Drivers under the age of 18 can have their licenses suspended after receiving 7 points, while other drivers can face suspension if they accumulate 12 points in 2 years. This new 3-point penalty should give drivers further incentive to refrain from texting while behind the wheel. However, frequent enforcement of the ban is also important in ensuring that drivers make safe decisions, and figures suggest that widespread enforcement could be lacking. According to 19 Action News, only 1,000 citations have been issued in the time since the law was enacted.

Unfortunately, even if the new penalties prove to be a fairly successful deterrent, texting is not the only way that drivers can endanger other motorists. There are a number of ways that drivers can choose to act recklessly or negligently, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

A closer look at driver negligence

Any driver who is not putting his or her full attention on the road may be endangering others. The government-affiliated website Distraction.gov shares the following alarming statistics:

  • Drivers who take their attention off the road for manual and visual tasks, like using electronic devices, have a three times greater risk of crashing.
  • A driver traveling at 55 mph will cover the length of a football field during 4.6 seconds, the average time needed to read or compose a text.
  • In 2012, more than 3,000 people fell victim to deadly car crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • Besides electronic devices, driver distractions can include eating, grooming, reading maps, adjusting controls and interacting with passengers.

Distracted drivers are at risk for all kinds of crashes, from driving off the road to drifting into another lane to rear-ending another vehicle. Although the issue of distracted driving is being taken increasingly seriously in Kentucky, it is still important for drivers to recognize the risk and understand that they have rights in the event of an accident.

If you have been harmed in an accident involving a driver who chose to act negligently or recklessly, you should contact an attorney to discuss pursuing compensation.