Articles Tagged with deaths

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shutterstock_542928041-300x200We all know the dangers of texting and driving. With so many public service campaigns warning us, how could we not? But knowing and acting are two different things.

You’re behind the wheel of your car, paying close attention to the road. Then you suddenly hear the tune of your choice for your text message alert. Hey, it could be your boss, your spouse, your child – someone and something important. What do you do? Chances are, you do what most people do – read the text. And if the message is important enough, what’s the next thing you do? You respond, of course. Texting has become so popular in our culture, it often replaces phone conversation, even for those of us middle-aged and over.

But the facts remain. Driver distraction is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents each year, with texting taking the lead for that statistic. To date, fourteen states plus the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving. Numerous U.S. Senators are currently attempting to pass a bill to ban texting nationwide. In spite of these measures, drivers still text away, causing wrecks, injuries and countless deaths.

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shutterstock_13811443-300x200According to the Associated Press, a federal safety board just recommended that states should cut their drunken driving threshold by nearly 1/2, from .08 blood alcohol level to .05. Apparently research shows that the .05 standard has significantly reduced deaths in other countries. In fact, over 100 countries have adopted this .05 standard. Within ten years in Europe, traffic deaths related to drunken driving were reduced by more than half. So what does a .05 alcohol level mean to drivers? It means a woman weighing less than 120 pounds can get a DUI after one drink, and a man weighing 160 pounds can be hauled off for two drinks. A drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of 80-proof alcohol.

The National Transportation Safety Board indicated it didn’t intend to prevent drivers from having a glass of wine with dinner. However, if one does have a drink or two, the safest bet is to not drive. The fact is that alcohol concentration levels as low as .01 can impair driving performance. Levels as low as .05 substantially increase the risk of fatal crashes, said the NTSB.

Jonathan Adkins, an official with the Governors Highway Safety Association said, “It was very difficult to get .08 in most states so lowering it again won’t be popular. The focus in the states is on high blood alcohol content offenders as well as repeat offenders. We expect industry will also be very vocal about keeping the limit at .08.” The term “industry,” of course, means the alcohol industry which has a huge lobby in government.

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