Technology is a wonderful thing but often brings unforseen consequences. We see this every day in our practice with the ever-increasing number of major collisions resulting from driver's texting while driving. Recently new laws were enacted in Virginia and Maryland prohibiting texting while driving. The District of Columbia enacted the Distacted Driving Safety Act back in 2004 and yet just yesterday I was contacted by a driver who was in a major collision at Ward Circle, struck from behind by a texting driver. The Metropolitan Police came to the scene and yet despite the driver's admission that she was texting no citation was issued.
The texting problem also carries over to more dangerous situations as a Metro train operator was recently suspended for texting while operating his train. The evidence of his inattention was caught on video and this obviously begs the question of how widespread this practice is? In California a train operator was found to have been texting while a deadly accident was unfolding before him. How can this dangerous practice be stopped?
The American Automobile Association has suggested that soon laws will be on the books in every state prohibiting texting while driving and yet laws are meaningless unless they are enforced. Which brings me back to my unfortunate new client from the Ward Circle collision. He is hurt ,will miss time from work and will have the general hassle of coercing a reluctant insurance company into fixing his car. While the texting driver who caused the accident may ultimately get a bump-up in her insurance rates, she did not get as much as a ticket for her dangerous actions. Lets be honest-if you are driving a two-ton machine with your eyes looking down at a two inch screen, you may as well be driving with your eyes closed.