GHSA Officials Meet to Strengthen Safe Driving Policies

December 31, 1969

Officials with the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) recently met during their Annual Meeting and decided to focus efforts on prevention of drugged driving and distracted driving. These are two emerging areas of highway safety.
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Under the new policy, GHSA broadens its support for legislation against these dangerous driving acts. One important move that it made was to announce its support for a ban on hand-held cell phones for all drivers. Previously, officials with GHSA announced only a support for the ban of text messaging behind the wheel. They're taking the next step and moving to the root of the cause -- hand-held cell phones.

Our Los Angeles accident attorneys understand that bans on these distracted devices have been proven to reduce risks for motorists. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently conducted studies in both Connecticut and New York, both of which have cell phone bans for drivers, and concluded that when these laws are enforced they reduce drivers' use.

Officials with GHSA say that one ban without the other is tough to push. In many states, like in California, all drivers are prohibited from texting but not from making phone calls. When these drivers are pulled over for texting, many will claim that they were merely dialing a number to call and not composing a message in a text.

That's a common occurrence. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were close to 460,500 handheld cell phone convictions across the state in 2011. During this same time, there were less than 15,000 texting convictions. That's because officers have a tough time differentiating whether a driver was dialing to call or typing to text.

According to Barbara Harsha, the Executive Director for GHSA, a new policy that banning both behaviors for all drivers would send a clear message that any and all distracting behavior behind the wheel is unacceptable.

"Passage of these laws will provide states a practical platform for discussing why any phone use while driving is dangerous," said Harsha.

This is also the second year in which GHSA officials have decided to broaden their drugged driving policy. Officials strongly support zero tolerance laws across the board. They believe that drivers should be charged with driving under the influence solely for having drugs or alcohol in their system. There are only 17 states that have this law.

Officials are also supporting enhanced penalties for these charges.

It has gotten so bad that more than 16 percent of nighttime drivers who are tested for drugs produce a positive test result. Prescription narcotics and illegal drugs can both increase the risks for drivers.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call (800) 872-5925 today.

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