NHTSA Develops New Classification For Distracted Driving

Monday’s Blog 12.19.11 –  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a new classification system for fatal road accidents involving distracted drivers. This new system will refine data collection and help to distinguish better the number of road accidents whereby the use of Cell Phones and other Communication Devices is directly responsible. Currently, federal agencies use different means to identify drivers who use cell phones or other communication gadgets while driving. Once identified and verified, these cases are classified as careless driving. The new system will designate these cases as distraction-affected accidents.  There will be a major focus on the use of communication devices while driving. As mentioned in yesterday’s Post; distracted driving is a major problem on U. S roads and causes thousands of fatalities and injuries every year. A report from NHTSA shows that a little over  3,000 persons were killed in distraction-affected accidents in 2010.  The use of wireless communication gadgets by drivers not only poses a huge safety hazard, it also comes with hefty financial price. If you are caught talking or texting on your phone in many states today, you are liable for fines and possible license suspension. Insurance companies are also uneasy about teenage drivers whom they term as high risk. It is almost impossible to obtain cheap auto insurance for this age group.

There’s new development came hot in the heels of heightened scrutiny of distracted driving by federal authorities, following recent calls by the NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board,  for all states to ban non-emergency use of cell phones by drivers.  Road crashes involving distracted driving were responsible for 450,000 injuries in 2009 alone.  Officials with NHTSA compare the new classification system to the stance by federal authorities on reporting of alcohol related accidents. Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists with blood alcohol content of 0.01 or higher, were flagged for drunken driving until 2006. Currently, authorities focus their investigations on alcohol-impaired driving accidents, whereby the motorist has blood alcohol content of 0.08 and higher.


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