Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
When does creativity become insanity? Distracted driving has now reached a new level among young drivers. The newest alarming trend is taking self-portraits - "selfies" - while driving. Some drivers even add #Ihopeidontcrash with their photos. Such a hashtag indicates that the driver is aware of how dangerous this practice is. Apparently, that awareness does not extend to a realization that it is too dangerous to attempt. The popularity of Instagram, Twitter, texting and other social media as well as peer pressure seem to tempt young drivers into irresponsible behavior while driving. The rationale that taking a photo or texting only involves a few seconds fails to recognize that is also the same amount of time it takes to cause a serious collision.
Distracted driving has already alarmed highway-safety groups, governments, and law enforcement, as indicated by high-profile promotions against distracted driving as well as many new state laws making distracted driving a primary offense.
Among safety advocates, a statement by the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says, "Taking a photo of yourself while you're driving down the road at 50 or 60 miles per hour? That is putting your life in danger and putting the lives of those around you in danger. . . . Driving is a really serious thing."
According to the Department of Transportation, more than 3,300 deaths are caused each year by distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has targeted its promotions against distracted driving toward teens and young adults. The leading cause of deaths among teenagers is car crashes.
- "In 2011, over half of the teen occupants of passenger vehicles who died in crashes were unrestrained;
- Speeding was a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver;
- Twelve percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time; and
- In 2011, 505 people nationwide died in crashes in which drivers between 14 and 18 years old had alcohol in their systems, despite the fact that all states have Zero Tolerance Laws for drinking and driving under age 21."
I represent victims of distracted-driving every day in my law practice. I also routinely give presentations to local schools on the issue of distracted driving, a growing concern among drivers of all ages, but especially teen drivers. Please be careful on the road and don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to learn more about my presentations concerning distracted driving. You can call me at (202) 822-1899 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year" (2011). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 100" lawyers (out of more than 80,000 attorneys) in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best--most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2013)-- national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.