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Distracted Driving--The New Drunk Driving|Pennsylvania & New Jersey Injury Lawyers

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Daniel J. O'Brien
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When I was young, drunk driving did not have the stigma it has today. Police officers who pulled over a drunk driver would often follow the drunk driver home to make sure that they -- the drunks! -- made it home safely.

I remember one incident that occurred in my home town when I was a kid. A gentleman who was known around town as a heavy drinker damaged his car while pulling out of a restaurant parking lot after “last call”. As a result, his car would only travel in reverse. He attempted to drive home from the restaurant in reverse. He was pulled over by a local cop who literally escorted this man to his driveway while the man drove drunk backwards. It became the talk of the town.  A lot of people thought it was funny. The drunk driver was considered “a character”. This was in the late 60’s or early 70’s, and the designated driver didn’t exist. At that time, there was relatively little social stigma attached to drunk driving.

Due to the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other similar organizations, all of that has changed. Drunk drivers are now almost  universally seen for who and what they are -- a menace to society who should be prosecuted, not protected, by law enforcement. Nobody thinks drunk driving is funny anymore.

Distracted drivers, those who talk on the phone, read e-mails, send text messages, program their GPS units while driving, should likewise be recognized for who and what they are --  a major public health hazard along the same lines as drunk drivers.

It was only when public education changed public opinion toward drunk driving that behavior changed on a societal basis. When it was no longer funny or cool to drive drunk, teens and adults alike embraced the notion of the designated driver.

The same type of social pressure needs to be directed toward distracted drivers. It is time for all of us to view the drivers we see clicking away on a blackberry or a cell phone as accidents waiting to happen.

Everyday, there is news coverage of distracted driving accidents, many of which cause serious injuries to innocent victims and even fatalities.

Distracted drivers need to know that there are consequences to their actions.  Injured victims can bring claims against the distracted driver for causing the accident.

A Judge in New Jersey is about to decide the fate of a woman who was sending a text to a driver who was texting while driving.  This decision will change current and future lawsuits involving texting while driving accidents.  If the Judge decides that the woman could be held liable, then injured victims can sue the sender of the text even though he or she was not physically present when the accident happened.

If you have questions about a distracted driving accident or want to know more about our Teen Driving Safety Summit Program, which educates high school teens about the dangers of texting while driving, feel free to contact me.  You can also contact our Philadelphia, PA and New Jersey car accident and distracted driving accident lawyers.

Category: Car and Truck Accidents

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