Nowadays, it is commonplace to look at the car next to you in traffic and notice another driver looking at their cell phone while driving in the next lane. I often wonder if that person can actually drive safely while reading a text or sending one. It’s not very likely though. April is being hailed as Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout the country. According to studies carried out by the AAA Foundation they are discovering the opinions of people regarding distracted driving. The AAA surveys a large group of drivers over a one month period each year to find out their views on their experiences on the road. As per the results of the survey, the majority of drivers, over 88% fear distracted driving on the road. This is their biggest worry more than impaired driving or DUI or aggressive driving (road rage).
Distracted driving is a major cause of serious and fatal car accidents and should not be taken lightly. However, it is important to understand the causes behind the rising use of cellphones or other means of distractions that might cause a driver to lose focus. Unlike the stigma attached to DUI offenses or instances of road rage, people often have no trouble admitting that they use their cellphones either to view or send a text or email or make or receive a call while driving even though they are fully aware of the inherent dangers such as accident, injury or death in doing so. 45% of drivers admitted to reading text messages and 35% admitted to sending text messages while driving. Across the country, there is a spate of accidents and crashes after holidays. However, due to the different awareness campaigns, this year witnessed a reduction in the number of accidents and fatalities during the holiday season.
Distracted driving causes thousands of fatalities each year and these distractions are caused by a variety of different avenues but are usually attributed to texting, talking, and emailing while driving. Some states have added eating to their distracted driving laws. Although the law only bans eating a meal and not a snack, it still serves to effectively reduce any distraction that may be caused while eating. However in states like Georgia, for example there is no specific ban on eating, doing your make-up, or reading a map which are all activities that could be just as dangerous as sending a text message when driving a vehicle. According to a study carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 80% of all vehicle accidents and 65% of near-misses are caused by people who are eating behind the wheel. These statistics indicate that eating could be more dangerous than texting while driving.
When using a cellphone, a driver may use one hand to dial and their eyes may momentarily leave the road, and it can be argued that making a call behind the wheel is far less distracting than eating a burger which would require continuous usage of hands and eyes. Likewise, putting on make-up in your rear-view mirror can be a distraction with potentially disastrous consequences. NHTSA has recently renewed its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over efforts. It includes some dramatic ads that demonstrate the heartbreak resulting from impaired driving. The primary aim of this program is to remind drivers of the consequences of drinking and driving and to avoid them getting on the road at all. Such governmental efforts are supported on roads where you will see increased patrolling and other efforts such as increased arrests for impaired driving.
People Support Legislation For Cellphone Usage While Driving
In many states efforts are underway to enact a law that would stop people from holding their cellphones while driving. This effort is being supported by friends and families who have lost loved ones due to distracted driving crashes. According to a survey, most drivers favor legislation prohibiting the use of cellphones for talking or messaging while driving a motor vehicle. Some states such as California prohibit cellphones from being held even if someone is using a navigation app. People are required to cradle a phone or put it down while driving. Almost 50% of the drivers questioned in the survey supported a law that would completely and unequivocally ban the use of phones when operating a motor vehicle. However, it is ironic that the very same drivers who so vociferously supported a ban on phone usage themselves admitted to using a cellphone whether it was for texting or calling while they were driving their car. Although it is tempting to respond to a text message as quickly as possible, in some instances the phone technology has been smarter than the drivers. Certain smartphones now have the capability of stopping any messages from being received while the car is in motion.
Responding immediately to voice calls and text messages has become second nature and it is perceived as a failure when we delay in responding to our phone. However, the best methodology moving forward in this regard is to put your phones down while driving. A person sending a text message can receive a notification that you are driving and cannot respond till later. People generally feel that they are able to manage road conditions and traffic along with responding to a text however they often fall pitifully short in doing so. The human brain can multitask but it is not equipped to drive and send a message on the phone at the same time. Drivers lose their focus thereby causing an accident with potentially disastrous consequences. In time laws may be enacted that ban hand held phones while driving but it is simply not enough. Other activities such as eating or putting on makeup have to be restricted as well if we hope to reduce the risk of distracted driving.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to the other driver being distracted, it is advisable to retain the services of an accomplished an experienced personal injury attorney so that your rights may be protected and you may get the compensation you deserve.
Our Tustin injury law practice has been limited to Personal Injury Law for over 40 years and we have had the distinction of obtaining some of the largest Verdicts in Southern California for particular Tustin personal injury attorney.