Examining Interesting Personal Injury Prevention Legislation in Some States
Limiting personal injuries has been a common goal of several recent pieces of legislation in the United States.
From preventing car accident injuries that result from text messaging or DUI to requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets, such legislation represents the latest efforts to improve public safety and reduce the costs associated with personal injuries.
Michigan Legislation Would Ban Cell Phone Usage in Cars
It's a sight too familiar on today's roads: people yapping on their cell phones while driving. Many have worried that such multi-tasking while driving reduces the driver's attention span and increases the potential for car accidents. With that said, some Michigan legislators would like to ban the use of cell phones while driving.
Back in June, House Bill No. 4982 was introduced as a means to achieve this goal. This legislation would specifically ban using cell phones to place or answer a call, listen to voicemail, engage in verbal communication, or send, type or receive text messages while driving. While this bill has not yet been acted upon, its motivation becomes more apparent when looking at several interesting surveys.
AAA has noted that 25 to 50 percent of all motor vehicle crashes are caused by driver distraction. After surveying more than a thousand 16- and 17-year-old teenagers, AAA and Seventeen Magazine revealed that 61 percent of those polled admitted to having dangerous driving habits. 46 percent of those teens said they had sent text messages while driving while 51 percent admitted to speaking on their cell phones while driving.
A Harris Interactive survey further revealed that it's not just teens text messaging and using their cell phones while driving. Nearly two-thirds of adults polled in the survey admitted to reading text messages or emails while driving. 57 percent of the polled adults said that they had sent a text message or email while driving.
While Michigan waits on this legislation banning texting while driving, the state of Washington will have a similar law take effect on January 8th. That law will make it illegal to send text messages while driving, and the offense will be treated as a secondary violation. In other words, the law will only be enforced when drivers are pulled over for something else illegal, like speeding. This new Washington law will still allow people to enter a phone number or name into their cell phones to make a call.
Pennsylvania Legislation Would Reinstate Mandatory Helmet Use for Motorcyclists
Since 2003, wearing a helmet on a motorcycle has been optional for people who are at least 21 years old and have completed a state-approved safety class or been riding for two years. This may change, as state Representative Dan Frankel of Allegheny introduced legislation in April that would repeal the 2003 law and make it mandatory for all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Frankel and other proponents of his legislation have cited the rising costs associated with motorcycle accident injuries and the fact that there has been an 18 percent increase in Pennsylvania motorcycle deaths since the 2003 law as just some of the reasons to repeal it.
Frankel's legislation is naturally not without controversy as many motorcycle enthusiasts have complained about its implications. These riders have cited a variety of reasons why they don't wear motorcycle helmets, including stuffiness and heaviness. It shall be interesting to see what happens with this legislation.
Statewide Participation in Labor Day Weekend Initiatives to Prevent Car Accidents & Personal Injuries
This past Labor Day Weekend, many states participated in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Drunk Driving: Over the Limit - Under Arrest" campaign. Read about some of the states which participated in similar crackdowns and other efforts to prevent drunk driving accidents and personal injuries on the nation's highways in the following articles:
However, despite the state investigation and the public apology, it may be that the Pitts have no legal recourse when it comes to recovering for their privacy invasion. The line that many believe the investigators crossed may in fact be moral or ethical rather than legal.
Stay tuned to Total Injury for developments in this lawsuit, as it determines what may be an important distinction between ethical and legal regulation on insurance company investigations.