If we look at the results of opinion polls, more than 50% of the US drivers are angry they have to share the roads with drivers who text while they should be watching the road. But we cannot control the problem effectively by mere anger… Well distracted-driver laws exist across the country but, so far, there’s little enthusiasm in the law enforcement community for enforcing them. For example, the maximum fine for texting while driving in Oregon is $142. The problem for the police is whether they should increase the number of vehicles on patrol. It might be better if these were unmarked and equipped with cameras providing clear evidence the offense was committed. So, at a time when state and city budgets are under pressure, is harassing texting drivers a high priority, or should the increasingly limited resources be dedicated to responding to reports of violent incidents?
When it comes to budgets, law enforcement becomes a difficult topic. The Republicans usually support policing strategies that improve public safety through zero-tolerance plans to lock up repeat offenders. This focuses attention on the cost of maintaining the prison service and a fast-response approach to picking up people involved in violent incidents. Given many senior law positions are elected, the police chiefs do not want to be seen upsetting the electorate, most of whom drive. This leads to low priorities in identifying drivers without insurance or a valid driving license, and even lower priority to catching those driving without wearing seat belts or while talking on their cells, texting, and so on. These are considered a “natural” part of driving and most officers turn a blind eye to offenses.
This is frustrating because the evidence of falling safety standards due to distraction is just as clear as the injury reductions when seat belt laws are properly enforced. In part, this more casual approach to safety is due to the enhanced design of modern vehicles. Drivers and passengers feel more safe so they care less about driving while distracted. Ironically, the people who care the most are the auto insurance companies. They are seeing the number of claims rise and it’s all down to the negligence of their drivers. That’s why there are some interesting new proposals on offer.
What about auto insurance quotes and discounts?
Many insurers offer discounts for teen drivers, if there’s a camera fitted inside the vehicle showing a continuous record of driver behavior. With both parents and insurers allowed to view in real time, this allows enforcement of simple rules like no texting, no distracting passengers in the back seat, and so on. If the rules are broken, the driving privileges can be withdrawn. The evidence now emerging from these insurer initiatives is encouraging with the general standard of driving improving. So, when shopping for car insurance quotes next time – remember to check out what discounts are on offer if you allow technology to be fitted to your vehicles to monitor the way they are driven.