Are Utah Drunk Drivers Less Impaired than Distracted Drivers?

UTAH. Utah’s new drunk driving law lowers the blood alcohol concentration limits for Utah drivers to 0.05. Starting in December, drivers could be put in jail if they are found driving with the new lowered limit. Furthermore, if drivers get into a crash and injure another driver or passenger, they could be found negligent or at fault for the crash if officers determine that their blood alcohol concentration is above the 0.05% limit. Yet, some critics of the new law claim that it doesn’t address the real danger on Utah’s roads: distracted driving.

According to one writer for the Washington Examiner, Utah’s drunk driving law arrests drivers who are statistically less impaired than a person using a hands-free cell phone. Under Utah law, drivers are permitted to drive a car while using a hands-free device. What does this mean for safety laws in Utah? Well, rather than raising the BAC, as some critics of the new law claim, maybe it’s time Utah and other states passed stricter laws regarding the use of hands-free devices.

In New York, state troopers have taken to the road to crack down on distracted driving. The New York Times reports that state troopers spent five days cracking down on cell phone use while drivers were operating vehicles at high speeds—times when drivers are most at risk of more deadly accidents. The result? State troopers found truck drivers with only one hand on the wheel, a NYC police officer was found scrolling through his phone while crossing four lanes of traffic, a plumber spoke to a client while on an off-ramp.

The worst part of the situation is that the drivers know that they are violating the law. Many are contrite. The reality is that the allure of the phone can be hard to avoid. Nurses were caught using their phones—even police officers. One nurse who was caught said she has treated victims who have suffered injuries due to distracted driving. As many as 33,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted driving in 2015.

While crackdowns can catch drivers in the act, the reality is that our cell phones can essentially highjack our brains. They trigger the same parts of our brains triggered by addictive impulses. If we hear a text, it can be almost impossible to resist. Some critics of cell phone use claim that phones should have features that would disable their use while people are driving. Others claim that cars should essentially be designed as “faraday cages” which would prevent the phone from receiving signals.

Until companies design devices that force users to be more responsible, and acknowledge the addictive nature of their devices, crashes related to distracted driving are likely to continue happening. The Truman Law Firm, P.C. are personal injury lawyers in Utah who work closely with victims and families who have suffered due to the actions of a distracted driver. Our firm may be able to help you seek damages to cover your lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses related to this kind of accident. Visit us at http://trumanlawfirm.com/ to learn more.

 

 

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