School buses used as latest ploy to catch distracted drivers

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the U.S. According to statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, cellphone use while driving has increased significantly within the last few years. The agency estimates that approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or electronic devices while driving every day.

Fortunately, distracted driving laws limiting or prohibiting the use of mobile devices while driving or texting behind the wheel have been passed in California and other states to help combat distracted driving auto accidents.

However, authorities admit that catching drivers texting while driving can be tricky. Drivers are often discreet and conceal their smartphones low on their laps out of sight while they text. But police in the state of Minnesota have discovered a new and legal way to find drivers who are texting behind the wheel — through the use of school buses.

The Advantage of School Buses

Officers have found that school buses offer a so-called "bird's eye view" inside the cabin of a car when traveling next to a passenger vehicle. School buses sit high on the road and allow people inside the bus to easily look down into the car and observe any potential inconspicuous and illegal activities of the driver.

If police riding inside the bus notice a driver texting or performing any other illegal activity, they radio a squad car following close behind the bus to pull the vehicle over.

Catching Texters in California

In some states, texting while driving is a secondary law. This means that authorities can only ticket a driver for texting behind the wheel if that driver is found violating a primary traffic law such as speeding.

However, texting while driving in Minnesota is a primary law. Drivers can be pulled over and ticketed for texting behind the wheel without committing any other traffic violations — and that is likely why the operation has been a success.

Texting behind the wheel is also a primary law in California. If the initiative proves useful for authorities in the Midwest, it could also prove useful for authorities in California. If it is a program that will help save lives, police officers may look into it.

Seeking the Help of a Personal Injury Lawyer

Sadly, auto accidents will continue to occur because of distracted drivers. Whether it's through texting or taking "selfies," some drivers are just unable to put their phones down when they drive.

Individuals injured in a vehicle accident as a result of the actions of an at-fault distracted driver may be entitled to compensation. Speaking with a lawyer who understands the law is advised.