In spite of appearances, hands-free devices are not actually safer to use than handheld mobile devices. The Insurance Journal reports on data from the National Safety Council that finds more than 30 studies have corroborated this fact. Yet misconceptions continue to encompass the safety of hands-free devices.
The National Safety Council also conducted a survey of drivers and found that 70 percent of hands-free users do so for safety reasons. Here in Ohio, victims continue to be injured as a result of the misconception that hands-free devices are safe to use while driving. Ohio law enforcement officials are working to enforce bans on on all types of distracted driving.
Ohio Cracks Down on Distracted Drivers
In April 2018, the Ohio State Highway Patrol joined other states in a distracted driving crackdown. According to The News Center, Ohio troopers issued more than 1,500 citations for reckless or careless driving in a period of one week. They also issued 34 citations for texting or cell phone violations during this time. Enforcement efforts such as this are an important step toward holding drivers accountable for distracted driving, and deterring this dangerous conduct in the future. This can help prevent distracted driving accidents before innocent victims are injured.
These statistics also demonstrate the difficulty of proving that a driver was texting or distracted by a cell phone while driving. Officers can easily observe careless or reckless driving when a driver drifts out of a lane, brakes suddenly, speeds, or engages in other dangerous driving behaviors. But it is very difficult to observe - and even more difficult to prove - texting while driving.
Enforcement is also made difficult by a limitation in Ohio's texting and driving law. Section 4511.204 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits drivers from using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle. However, the statute also prohibits law enforcement officers from stopping a vehicle only for a texting infraction. A law enforcement officer must observe another traffic, civil, or criminal infraction in order to stop a driver who has been texting while driving. This, too, makes it more difficult to hold drivers accountable for distracted driving.
The Importance of Personal Accountability
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of every driver to meet his or her legal obligation to drive with due care. This legal obligation is not met simply by using a hands-free device. Rather, drivers must use caution in order to operate the vehicle as a reasonably prudent motorist would in similar circumstances. Failure to do so can result in a finding of negligence. Negligent drivers have a legal obligation to compensate accident victims for injuries and losses they suffer as a result of of a motor-vehicle collision.
Our Akron car accident attorneys know just how devastating an auto accident can be. Many victims experience symptoms which affect them for years after an accident. Some are permanently impaired, or unable to return to work or engage in hobbies. All of these are significant losses for which a negligent driver is obligated to compensate.