Distracted drivers contribute yearly to thousands of deaths in the U.S. According to the Alaska State Troopers website, distracted drivers in 2009 contributed to over 5,500 deaths and over 45,000 injuries.
Adding to the danger facing drivers, Anchorage area roadways recently contended with a driver accused of both texting and driving under the influence of alcohol. This situation resulted in the driver crashing into and injuring a state highway worker, as well as causing some property damage. Fortunately, no one died as a result of this reckless behavior.
What can Anchorage do to deter more drivers from text messaging and driving? Text messaging and operating a vehicle is already against the law in Alaska, yet the rate of noncompliance continues to rise and enforcement can be difficult to spot. It appears that the solution may come through greater awareness of the risks involved, as well as understanding that the penalties associated with texting while driving far outweigh the convenience of text messaging.
The penalties for texting while driving increase depending on the type of injury incurred to the public, as found at The Alaska State Trooper website.
Simply texting and driving carries with it a penalty of being a Class A Misdemeanor with up to $10,000 and 1 year in prison. The increase in penalties rises significantly if someone is injured, such as in the situation of the driver accused of DUI and texting while driving above. She is facing, along with charges of DUI, a charge of Class C Felony with up to $50,000 and 5 years in prison.
If a person seriously injures someone, they face a charge of Class B Felony with up to $100,000 and 10 years in prison. If someone is killed, the driver will face strict liability and be charged with a Class A Felony, up to $250,000 and 20 years in prison.
An injury resulting from texting while driving may require immediate and ongoing medical attention, pain and suffering, as well as time off from work for recovery. Speaking to a personal injury and car accident attorney can help recover financial losses resulting from those injuries and to help pay for bills.
Avoiding personal injuries resulting from texting while driving entirely would keep Anchorage streets safe. Although the method of injury may not seem as significant as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, text messaging while driving still endangers the welfare of fellow drivers.