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Distracted Driving Becoming a Focus For the NYPD

Distracted driving looms as one of the largest factors in contributing to New York collisions. The NYC lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have been talking about it for a long time, pleading for common sense to prevail. Now, the New York City Police Department is focusing on the issue. It will soon be a hit to your wallet if you don't heed the obvious warnings.

Anyone who has driven on the streets of New York City, or anywhere for that matter, has had to contend with the nationwide epidemic of people driving while distracted. The distraction is inevitably caused by motorists texting or e-mailing or otherwise using their cell phones while driving. You now see "text area stops" along roadways, telling drivers that the text can wait and providing them with an area to pull over and avoid driving while distracted.

Distracted driving has led to thousands of accidents. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 15 people die in the United States each day as a result of distracted driving. That amounts to nearly 5,500 people a year losing their lives because of distracted driving.

The epidemic has caused the NYPD to take action. The department is in the midst of enforcing a citywide initiative to address the use of cell phones used to text while driving.

One would imagine that all New Yorkers are in favor of such a crackdown, though the NYPD is still providing an explanation, noting "that the use of a hand held cell phone and texting while driving a vehicle is illegal. Driving while operating, talking, or texting on a cell phone or other similar hand-held device is extremely dangerous and endangers the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. In addition, preserving the right of way for pedestrians is a primary focus of the NYPD's traffic safety mission. Motor vehicle operators are also reminded that yielding to pedestrians at intersections is paramount to the safety of all New Yorkers."

The initiative is also being lauded by Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives, a group founded in 1973 with 100,000 active supporters who proclaims that its mission is to reclaim New York City's streets from the automobile and to promote bicycling, walking, and public transit. Mr. Budnick said: "It shows that the goal is changing people's behavior, not writing the most number of tickets. Writing tickets is important, but the point isn't to set-up an 'I gotcha' situation and nab people. The point is to compel people to make safe decisions." Ticket recipients may take issue with this. However, the end game should result in safer roadways and that is a goal everyone should be able to get behind.

Let us all hope for the continued enforcement and success of this initiative since it contributes to the betterment of our city and promotes safety for New York City residents, commuters and visitors alike.

Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP is proud to fight on behalf of and protect collision victims. The lawyers at the firm have amassed more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their clients. You can learn more about the firm at www.blockotoole.com. For a free consultation, you can call them at 212.736.5300.

Source: http://gothamist.com/2014/05/16/distracted_driver_crackdown.php

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