If you are like many people in Delaware, your phone will send you alerts throughout the day: sports scores, weather updates, even breaking news. You can also sign up for Amber Alerts, so that you will receive a notice if a potential kidnapping has taken place. The Amber Alert system gives Delaware drivers instant access to the types of makes and models of vehicles, along with their license plate numbers, which could be on the road nearby, so that you can contact the police if you see the vehicle.
Emergency alerts and updates can be very loud – so loud, in fact, that they can startle a driver. A startled driver can panic; other drivers may simply take their eyes away from the road long enough to miss another car entering the road or lane ahead of them. And with close to a million reports each year of missing children, mass text messages with Amber Alerts could potentially cause thousands of drivers in Delaware and around the country to have an accident on the road.
Safe driving tips
There is nothing wrong with using an alert system on the phone; Amber Alerts and other emergency updates are a wonderful idea to help keep us all safe, and to protect children around the country. But distracted driving kills thousands of people every year, and text messages are one of the leading causes of those distractions. To avoid being distracted or frightened by incoming updates, consider:
- Lowering the volume on your phone or silencing alerts completely
- Unsubscribing from notifications that you do not really need, or could not access on your own
- Turning your phone off in the car
- Using software that allows your texts to be read aloud to you upon your command
Remember that Delaware has banned all handheld cellphone use by drivers, and banned both handheld and hands-free cellphone use for “novice drivers” and bus drivers. Texting is also illegal. Simply reading the alert while you are driving can cost you money in fines and lead to a traffic ticket.
Emergency alerts may save lives, but they have the potential to cost lives, too. The best thing you can do is to turn off your phone while you are in your car and check your text messages when you are safely pulled over or at your destination. No text message is worth the potentially life-changing injuries a serious car crash might cause.
To find out more about Silverman, McDonald & Friedman’s services for car accident victims in Delaware, we invite you to contact us to schedule an appointment. We maintain offices in Seaford, Newark and Wilmington for your convenience.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.