One of the more serious issues that is becoming more and more of a bigger problem in the South Coast today is reckless driving. What reckless driving is is driving in a way that puts people and property in harm’s way. A reckless driving offense can be tacked onto or used in lieu of other offenses like speeding. Some of the most common types of reckless driving are; driving under the influence, drowsy driving, and phone usage while driving. Reckless driving is one cause of death in the area.
On average there are over 6 million car accidents in the United States every year and more than 3 million people are injured due to car accidents; 2 million of these injuries are permanent. There are over 40,000 deaths due to car accidents every year. “If a new disease started killing Americans at the rate that vehicles do the government would instantly mobilize, and we’d do whatever it took to conquer the disease. ” (Baker, Susan) If the government would do this if it was a disease why don’t they take more action for reckless driving?
Being a fatigued driver or more commonly known a drowsy driver is just as dangerous as someone who has had too many beers. Drowsy driving is the operation of a motor vehicle while being cognitively impaired by a lack of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, “60% of adult drivers (about 168 million people) say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel!. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that “100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12. 5 billion in monetary losses. ” The hardest part about cracking down on drowsy drivers is that there is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication. Sleep related crashes are most common in young people, more likely men, adults that have children, and shift workers. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash.
The less people sleep, the greater the risk of getting into a crash. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times. ” As you can see even one hour of sleep can make all the difference in someone’s capability to drive a vehicle. Before driving you should get a good nights sleep, plan to drive long trips with a companion, and Schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or two hours.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their October 7, 2011 vital signs report, “nearly 11,000 car accident related fatalities (about 1/3 of all crash fatalities in the United States) are attributed to alcohol-impaired driving. ” The alcohol statistics are only related to accidents where at least one driver had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. In Massachusetts it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, or with a blood alcohol content of eight one-hundredths (. 08) or greater.
Massachusetts has some of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to DWI DUI OUI charges. As you can see from the statistics, the number of drivers that are getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink is way too high. Through education and the efforts of groups like MADD this number has decreased over the past few years. In 2006 the drunk driving statistics show about 20% more fatalities than these most recent statistics. However, the fact that nearly a 1/3 of all crash related fatalities are attributed to drunk driving shows that we still have a long way to go.
In September of 2012 five people were arrested on drunken driving charges and 10 cars were impounded during a six-hour checkpoint. “The Labor Day weekend inspections were conducted in the 1800 block of the highway,” said sheriff’s Deputy Brenda Sipley in a news release. You should not get behind the wheel of a car if you have had anything to drink. When going out to parties try to car-pool and have a designated driver. What a designated driver is; is someone who will stay sober all night and drive everyone home ensuring everyone gets home safe and no one is driving drunk.
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers also known as MADD is an organization of individuals that was started about 32 years ago as a way to crack down on the number of drunk drivers on t since MADD’s inception, he road and the number of drunk driving-related deaths. The MADD organization was first created in 1980 when the founder, Candy Lightner, had a daughter that was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender. MADD supports the law enforcement heroes that to keep the roads safe.
MADD also strives to support policy change like the policy that requires convicted drunk drivers to use in car breathalyzers. All convicted drunk drivers must prove they are sober before the car will start. Drunk driving fatalities are on the decline dropping 12 percent from 2006 to 2008, which proves that they are helping even if it isn’t a great amount it is something. MADD has helped in saving over 300,000 lives and counting in the years since the program has been created. Still there are thousands of people that are killed each year as a result of drunk driving. The goal of the MADD is to change this number and decrease drunk driving incidents and fatalities by 10,000 by the end of 2012. ” MADD also works to prevent underage drinking since many of the drunk drivers on the road are under the legal age to purchase alcohol. “Many strategies are used by MADD members to help parents learn to talk to their children about drinking underage as well as the dangers of drinking and driving. ” These efforts include discouraging adults from providing alcohol to underage teens. MADD strongly supports the 21 drinking age law.
Lastly MADD efforts to help include victim support services “for those who have been affected, injured or had family and friends hurt or killed as a result of drunk driving. ” MADD provides these services at no charge and continues to increase its services to benefit more and more victims of drunk driving accidents. In 2011 at the very least 23% of all auto collisions involved cell phones, that’s 1. 3 million crashes. The minimum amount of time your eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds, if you are traveling at 55mph this is equivalent to you driving the length of a football field without you looking at the road.
In this day and age phones are something we can just not live without but it is also one of the most dangerous contributions to car accidents. Talking and or listening on the phone increases your risk of a crash by 1. 3%, reaching for your phone increases it by 1. 4%, dialing increases it by 2. 8%, and the most dangerous of all texting increases your risk of a crash by 23%. Still majority of drivers say they think it is safe to text and drive, and think it is easy. Texting and driving is the equivalent to me blindfolding you for however long you are texting, how is that safe ?
Fact it’s not safe teens that text while driving spend approximately 10% of their driving time outside of their lane. But it’s not just teens 27% of adults have sent a text or received and read a text while driving. To try and lower the auto collisions involving cell phones 10 states prohibit all drivers from using cell phones, 32 states prohibit new drivers from using cell phones, and 39 states prohibit all drivers from texting. Texting while driving is against the law in Massachusetts, but police on SouthCoast “In theory it’s a great law.
It’s just tough to enforce,” said Wareham Lt. Kevin Walsh. Levinson said “in order for a police officer to be able to stop an operator, suspected of texting and driving, an officer has to actually see a driver doing it. ” He added that “it is difficult for an officer to know for sure unless traffic is slow or both the operator and the officer are stopped in traffic. ” The law, took effect September 30, 2010, it consist of a fine of $100 for a first offense; $250 for a second offense; and $500 for a third or subsequent offense.
According to information provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, a total of 58 citations were issued by all the police departments in South Coast between Sept. 30, 2010, and March of this year. A breakdown by department is as follows: Acushnet, 2; Dartmouth, 14; Fairhaven, 1; Freetown 1; Lakeville, 4; Marion, 4; Mattapoisett, 1; New Bedford, 17; Rochester, 1; Wareham 7; and Westport, 6. With the amount of deaths because of reckless driving you’d think more people would use a little common sense and drive safer, but because not everyone has common sense we have more and more laws that are coming into place to help save lives.
Just because laws are put into place does not mean that everyone is going to follow them which is why we have consequences, so to help prevent yourself from being into a car accident make sure you are always awake and alert behind the wheel, never on the phone or texting, never under the influence of any substances, and following all of the regulations and laws they are there to save you.
Brown, Curt. Texting-While-Driving Law ‘Tough To Enforce’. South Coast Today, 2012. Web. 28 November 2012. Drunk Driving Statistics 2012. Drug Rehab 101, 24 January 2012. Web. 28 November 2012. Stone, Ken. 5 Arrested on DUI Charges in 6-Hour Checkpoint on South Coast Hwy 101. Patch, 1 September 2012. Web. 28 November 2012. Bristol County DUI OUI DWI Defense Attorney. massachusetts-drunkdriving, 2012. Web. 28 November 2012 Abbruzzese, Kelsey. Mass. commission pushes drowsy-driving crackdown. South Coast Today, 6 March 2009. Web. 28 November 2012 Facts and Stats. drowsy driving, 2012. Web. 28 November 2012
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