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Brandon Hewitt talks distracted driving dangers with WZZM

March 9, 2018 by Steven M. Gursten

Attorney Brandon Hewitt tells WZZM in Grand Rapids about iPhone apps for parents to stop teen drivers from distracted driving; texting is the new drunk driving

Michigan Auto Law attorney Brandon Hewitt talks to WZZM Grand Rapids about distracted driving dangers

Auto accident attorney Brandon Hewitt of Michigan Auto Law is spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving. This applies for all drivers, of course, but it poses a special risk of danger for young and inexperienced drivers. Statistically, these are the drivers most likely to be involved in a car crash. They are also more likely to be distracted while driving a car.

As a way of delivering his message of safe driving and “to make people aware of the dangers of distracted [driving],” Brandon is taking part in a new “Just Drive” series by WZZM-13 TV in Grand Rapids.

This, of course, complements his many “End Distracted Driving” speaking engagements at high schools around the state.

The important points that Brandon has made so far in WZZM’s “Just Drive” series include:

  • “[T]exting and driving” and “distracted driving [are] just as or more dangerous than drinking [and driving] …”
  • “[D]istracted drivers” and “texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in a crash …”
  • The problem of distracted driving – including, but, by no means, limited to texting while driving – “is an especially big problem with young drivers …”
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers, according to the CDC, and the all-too-frequent cause of those crashes is cell phone-related distracted driving.
  • Anti-distracted driving iPhone and cell phone apps allow parents to monitor their young drivers’ compliance with the apps and, thus, prevent their teen drivers from driving while distracted.
  • Michigan Auto Law sponsors the annual “Kelsey’s Law Scholarship: Stop Distracted Driving Contest” in order to “help [and encourage] teens get the word out about [the dangers of] distracted driving …”

To learn more, please check out the videos of Brandon’s WZZM appearances below.

Brandon Hewitt tells WZZM about iPhone apps that parents can use to stop their teen drivers from driving while distracted

Brandon explained to WZZM that, even though technology has gotten us into the distracted driving mess that we’re in, technology is also offering up ways to eliminate distractions – especially for teen drivers, our family members who are just beginning to learn to drive.

Specifically, Brandon discussed several, currently available iPhone/cell phone apps that can curb and/or eliminate cell phone-related distractions while driving:

  • “iPhone Apple has finally instituted an app or a built-in system on their phones where you can actually turn your phone off when you’re driving. It’s really simple to get to. You just go to the settings and control menu and you can access it really quickly. You can do it manually or you can set it so that it’s automatic so that when you are actually moving in your car your phone will sense that and it’ll turn off your notifications.”
  • “AT&T DriveMode” and “Sprint Drive First”: “They’re very similar apps and what they do is not only do they can you manually do it but it allows parents to actually be a part of that which is really nice and it will also send an automatic text reply to somebody that you are driving and you can’t answer their text right now so you don’t feel that compulsion to try to get back …”
  • “LifeSaver”: “LifeSaver is a cool app because what it can do is actually prohibit all notifications and emails until you arrive at your destination … It’s kind of like a Google Maps thing where you can set it in and it won’t allow anything to happen until it understands that you have arrived at your destination.”
  • “tXtBlocker” (pronounced “Text Blocker”): “Text Blocker will actually block all texts coming in [and] going out …”
  • “On My Way”: “On My Way is simple. It doesn’t block any text but what it can do is – almost like a tracking [device] – it can let people know that you are on your way and they can follow you … so they can see, ‘Okay, you know what, he is driving and I’m not going to bother him until I see that he’s actually gotten to [his destination].”

Attorney Brandon Hewitt tells WZZM that distracted driving is the new drunk driving

Brandon told WZZM that “texting while driving is the new drunk driving” and that, in order to effectively combat the dangers of distracted driving, Michigan’s laws need to do more than focus just on texting while driving.

Brandon explained the shortcomings of Michigan’s texting ban and how they effectively allow distracted driving to continue with impunity:

  • “[Y]ou can be pulled over for texting here in Michigan, but [the danger posed by distracted driving is] so much more than that. It’s distracted driving.” “[I]f you’re on an app” or “looking through Facebook or you are checking the news or reading e-mail,” “well, technically you’re not texting,” but you are “distracted … so we’d like to see the legislature be a little bit more aggressive in making sure that it’s not just a texting issue and that people understand that it’s a bigger problem than just texting …”

Brandon also talked about the unique danger that distracted driving poses for teen drivers and how the life-saving principles in Kelsey’s Law should be applied across the state to all drivers:

  • Kelsey’s Law “is a great law” which targets distracted driving among young, inexperienced drivers by banning “cell phone use by teens and new drivers.” The law is the result of the tireless work by Bonnie Raffaele, whose daughter, Kelsey, tragically lost her life in a cell phone-related car accident in 2010.
  • Michigan Auto Law has partnered with Bonnie Raffaele to offer the “Kelsey’s Law Scholarship: Stop Distracted Driving Contest.” Our goal is to “help [and encourage] teens get the word out about [the dangers of] distracted driving …”

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