A local law firm says talking on your phone while driving, hands free or not, can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
The Terrell Hogan Law Firm is discussing the issue of phone-related automobile accidents as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The firm promotes the message “one text or call could wreck it all.”
“By using the phone they can end someone else life, end their own life, cause tremendous damage out there and it’s a message that everybody ought to be able to accept,” said attorney Wayne Hogan.
The firm started generating awareness at local schools though recent statistics show that adults are greater offenders of this crime.
Hogan explains how these phones, regardless of age, have drifted into becoming something people need to be in touch with at all times. He stresses that the driver’s main duty is to focus on the road, the same way his main duty at the firm is to focus on his work.
“Studies show that it’s an epidemic,” Hogan said. “It’s more common than the flu but more deadly.”
Hands free phones don’t seem to be the cure. Almost all of the drivers at Hogan’s presentations admitted that they’ve missed their targeted exits, intersections or locations because of speaking on hands free phones.
“The brain is engaged in the conversation with a remote person and when it is, aspects of the brain that should be involved in helping you drive, looking for information, assorting that information for what’s important, it’s not engaged,” Hogan said.
The law firm is pressing local businesses and non-profit organizations to establish company policies regarding phone usage behind the wheel during work hours. If a policy isn’t in place, employers could be liable for any infliction an employee may cause on the road.
“The non-profits in this community are fantastic and we want them to know that they put their reputation at risk when they’re out there trying to do good works,” Hogan said.
Hogan says awareness can reduce occurrences of vehicular manslaughter, citing the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation as an example.
Joel and Diane Feldman established the foundation when they lost their daughter Casey, a journalism major at Temple University. Casey was standing in a crosswalk when she was hit and killed by a driver adjusting his GPS.
“They decided to try to do something good as a result of something bad and in the first year 50,000 students were reached, the second year, 100,000 students across the country were reached,” Hogan said.
You can get more information on how to book someone from the Terrell Hogan Law Firm to speak about distracted driving with your school, business or organization online at TerrellHogan.com.
You can follow Scott Harrison on Twitter @Sharrison983.