I’m sure you have heard of distracted driving.
Especially with the advent of cell phone and in particular texting, it has become a rather common term.
To put it simply, distracted driving is any activity within the confines of a motor vehicle which diverts the attention of the driver from where his or her attention should be.
Rhode Island distracted driving laws are seemingly about to change all this.
Texting is the one activity that comes to mind when the phrase distracted driving is used. As a personal injury attorney, it is hardly the only infraction that can be classified in this category.
Any use of cell phones such as making a phone call, surfing the web, checking email messages or Facebook all have the same effect of diverting the drivers attention from the roadway.
39 jurisdictions, including, all the New England states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation banning texting while driving.
Some jurisdictions have gone as far as banning all talking on a hand-held cellphones while driving. Talking on your cell phone is banned in 10 states.
No talking is allowed if you are driving through is California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia and the District of Columbia as well.
The use of all cellphones by younger drivers is restricted in 32 states and the District of Columbia.
As a personal injury attorney in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, this is old news.
But what is not old news is how this is now cracking down on driving with another kind of distraction. Your pet.
Rhode Island Distracted Driving Laws Getting Tougher on Fluffy?
Well now State legislatures are looking to expand the existing driving while distracted laws into areas which have never been addressed before. The newest distracted driving ban involves your pet.
Yes, that’s right your pet.
The leader is the State of New Jersey. New Jersey is now taking action against drivers who allow their pets to roam free in the vehicle.
Drivers must now secure the pet or face a ticket between $250.00 and $1,000.00 and possible 6 months in jail. How do you secure Fido you ask? Well, the same way you secure yourself, with a seatbelt.
That’s right your dog must belted in using restraints provided in the car (seat belt) or a dog car harness or a transport crate. All animals must be properly restrained.
New Jersey reasons that animals roaming free in the car distract the driver. In addition, there is the safety issues for the animal.
In a car crash, if left unsecured, the pets can be tossed about in the vehicle or even ejected suffering severe trauma to themselves and to occupants of the car during the automobile accident.
Distracted driving is the number 1 cause of automobile accident deaths in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts.
You should expect that distraction by pet laws will soon come to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod soon to protect people from being injured in car accidents.
So as much as it may seem funny, Rhode Island distracted driving laws are about to change.
And although Fluffy, Fido and Butch may not know it yet, they are the targets of Rhode Island personal injury attorneys very soon.
So belt up your pets, not just for your safety but for the safety of your pet as well.