It is impossible to operate any machinery while you do not commit your full attention to the task at hand. This includes when you get behind the wheel of a car or truck.
Distracted driving is a factor in most accidents, and the epidemic has worsened with each passing year as we continue to develop innovative ways of taking our attention off the road.
Phones, music players, tablets, and other mobile devices allow us a portable way of remaining connected to each other. Still, drivers must be patient to wait until they arrive safely at their destination before reaching for these items.
The Staggering Statistics Behind Distracted Driving
At some point, we have all been guilty of being tempted by some object in our vehicle that has diverted our focus from the road.
Recent reports have revealed that every day in the United States, 660,000 drivers use a cell phone. We see these people almost everywhere we go and may even become annoyed by their erratic, reckless, or distracted driving.
We may also find ourselves with the phone in hand on occasion.
In 2015, over 391,000 people were injured in car accidents involving one or more distracted drivers. 3,477 people died of their injuries.
Teenagers continue to be the most distracted segment of the driving population, and their inexperience behind the wheel, coupled with their divided attention, puts them at grave risk.
When someone takes their eyes off the road to answer a phone call or return a text message, they travel 100 yards every five seconds at a speed of 55 mph.
There is so much that may happen when covering that distance, from having a vehicle enter the road ahead to needing to avoid an animal that has crossed your path or to having to stop because the driver ahead of you has slammed on his or her brakes.
How to Do Your Part in Preventing Distracted Driving
Everyone needs to educate one another on the perils of distracted driving and hold each other accountable so they don’t become the next horror story. It is now against the law to use a cell phone unless using hands-free technology in most states. In addition to supporting these laws, there are some more things we can do to protect ourselves and those we love.
- Have discussions about distracted driving with your peers. Texting while driving is not just a teen issue. Adults are also participants in this behavior, and you can remind them of what they risk when they send a text message from behind the wheel.
- Be an example. We need to practice what we preach to inspire our children and friends into action. Nobody appreciates a hypocrite, but more importantly, you will significantly reduce your own risk of an accident by reducing your own distractions.
- Have your teen children pledge not to drive while texting, and encourage them to expect this pledge from their friends. Social pressure can be used positively when children encourage safe decision-making and responsible behavior from one another.
- Create rules and enforce them. In addition to requiring safety belts, ensure all occupants inside your vehicle put their phones away before you move. It isn’t just your own phone that can become a distraction. Some drivers may be distracted by their passengers’ actions as well. If you happen to be a passenger, be respectful and helpful by choosing not to become a distraction yourself.
State and local police are also doing their part by pulling drivers over when it is apparent they are distracted.
While this will reduce the number of distracted drivers over time, it is not nearly as effective as policing our own families and being mindful that even though we may not be distracted behind the wheel, others will be.
Defensive driving is yet another way to protect ourselves and reduce the chances of becoming involved in a deadly accident.
The impairment caused by driving while using a phone or mobile device rivals that of drunkenness, so it is time that we take this issue with the same level of seriousness.
By supporting awareness initiatives and local laws, creating rules for our children, being positive role models, and carrying the discussion on to our peers, we may make the roads safer to drive.
Click here for more information; you can visit the NHSTA to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving and how you can make a difference in addressing this concern.
Contact our experienced car accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 for legal assistance in the fight against distracted driving.