What the new distracted driving laws are really about

Abigail Peacock, Staff Writer

For many student drivers, going on a cell phone while driving is a daily occurrence. Though statistically, a large percentage of accidents are caused by distracted driving, especially relating to cell phone usage, many drivers feel that they are good enough at multi-tasking that they pay attention completely to the road while looking at their phones. Little do those people know, thousands of accidents are caused by distracted drivers.

NHTSA reports that in 2015, 3,477 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, as well as 391,000 injured.

Many people don’t know what the laws are actually about: rather than focusing on the consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages while driving, the limitation of the usage of electronic devices, other than for navigation, is the primary goal.

“Miscellaneous distractions such as grooming or eating will be a secondary offense, meaning a ticket may be issued if a law-enforcement officer pulls you over for some other offense, such as speeding or a dangerous lane change. The penalty will be an extra $30.” (Seattle Times)

On paper, removing the risk of distraction by outlawing the things that lead to distraction could work. However, not everyone will necessarily follow these laws.

“Even though I want this law to be effective, I don’t think it will be. People have always known that texting and driving is bad but sadly it still happens,” junior Maya Sahawneh said.