As cell phones continue to become more advanced, enabling users to send text messages, emails, and even photographs from behind the wheel, the dangers of distracted driving have become more pronounced. The ‘epidemic’ has been cited as the cause of more than 500,000 accidents each year and is called the number one killer of teenagers. This week, New York City joined criticism of the dangerous practice with a report detailing distracted driving’s somber impact on pedestrians.
The city’s extensive report on pedestrian safety says distracted driving “has recently become more pressing as cell phones, computers and other portable devices further distract the driver.” Each day, police in New York City, which bans the use of handheld devices for all drivers, issue more than 600 citations to drivers breaking the relatively new law, but even that barely scratches the surface. In a single January day this year, police cited more than 7,000 drivers.
It’s clear that distracted driving laws are moving the direction of similar legislation requiring seat belts and outlawing drunk driving. In time, safety advocates say, distracted driving will carry a similar stigma.
That’s why it’s so important to research and understand the distracted driving laws in your state. To help, we’ve compiled the information in an easy-to-read interactive map. Visit the map to research your state’s distracted driving laws in addition to regulations on teen drivers and aging drivers (where applicable).
Though it would be ideal to see a strong, clear federal law against distracted driving enacted nationwide to avoid any confusion about its dangers, I’m happy to see more states stepping up to the plate in favor of safety. Check out our state-by-state interactive map to see your state’s laws and how they compare to the rest of the country.