According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2012), driver distraction was the cause of almost 20% of fatal crashes,
which accounted for over 3,300 traffic deaths, and over 420,000 wounded. Studies indicate that drivers who use cell phones while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash and response times in an emergency are quadrupled.
In 2015, Midlothian Police Department responded to over 700 incidents involving vehicle crashes. Of these, 339 of rose to the level of a formal report to the state, 134 of which cited driver inattention, a distraction in the vehicle or cell phone use as a causative factor. That’s 39% of Midlothian crashes in 2015 that involved distracted drivers. in Midlothian’s roadways are becoming more crowded and challenging to navigate. With the increased number of families calling Midlothian home, comes increased construction, vehicle and pedestrian traffic. All of this, and other factors, require an increased awareness on the part of Midlothian drivers.
Currently, 46 states ban texting while driving. Currently, 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Of the 4 states without an all driver texting ban, 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers, 1 restricts school bus drivers from texting.
On May 24, 2016, the Midlothian City Council unanimously passed Ordinance 2016-12 which added Article 12.05 “USE OF HAND-HELD WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE PROHIBITED” to Chapter 12 “Traffic and Vehicles” of the Code of Ordinances. Violation is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.