Distracted driving means operating a vehicle while the driver’s attention is not on the road. Phones are the top distractions while driving: taking a photo, reaching your phone, texting, answering calls or by simply looking at the GPS causes the distraction.
Every year, distracted driving cause’s more than 1.3 million accidents in the U.S. alone. And these simple distractions can lead to a dangerous accident, according to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in 2016 it claimed 3,450 lives. Driving needs focus, and unless you have your full attention on the road, you’ll get into an accident.
What are the most common causes of distracted driving?
In driving, there are three main types of distraction; Visual, manual and cognitive.
It is when you take your eyes off the road while driving. Usually, the main culprit of this is phones. Even with the slight attention to doing phone activities can divert your attention off the road. Any activities using phone endanger not only the driver but also others.
The biggest percentage of the age group who was reported to be in fatal crashes are teens (16-20 years old). Teens who were reported to using their phone while driving were also less likely to wear a seatbelt and is under the influence. It was also reported that in the U.S. 481,000 drivers use a phone while driving, which is 3 times more likely that you will get into a distracted driving accident.
When you take your hands off the steering wheel there’s a huge possibility that you will lose control of the wheels. From doing makeup, checking you your phone, or eating, this is a normal thing that you do when driving but the honest mistake of those seconds that you remove your hand on the steering can cause a huge damage.
Observe speed limit on top of observing minimal distracting activities. Doing makeup or eating must be done while you are not driving.
Thinking of other things while driving is another huge factor of a distracted driving accident. When you think of what to eat when you get home or about the work that still needs to be done at the office, this takes your focus on the road.
Before you think of those, think about your safety and the others too. Attention to surroundings is very important when driving.
Currently, many of the states are enforcing laws – such as banning texting while driving and raising awareness about dangers of it.
As of June 2017, 46 States including District of Columbia implemented the ban.
Preventing Distracted Driving Accident
Everyone needs to play parts in the fight for safety in driving to end road accident caused by distracted drivers.
While teens are most prone to this accident, they are also the best messenger to speak up when they see a friend distracted when driving.
They are good age group to join on local Driving Safety Programs. Nowadays, teens rule the social media, they can use this to raise awareness not only to their peers but also to their, family, friends, and neighbors.
As a parent, you must lead by example to – by not driving distracted – as well as have a serious talk with young driver about distraction and importance of driving with attention to surrounding. Have everyone in the family be aware of the responsibilities and results of distracted driver accidents. Remind your teen driver that violating distracted-driving laws could get their license suspended.
Educators and Employers
Teachers, professors, and companies also play a part to this. Schools or workplace must have awareness programs about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to take extra precautions and for a company to have policy on this matter.
Make your Voice Heard
As an individual, it is your responsibility to give a voice in your community by supporting local programs and laws that highlight the dangers of distracted driving. You can also do this by sharing awareness on social media and spreading the word by mouth with the locals.
Like other road accident, distracted driving can be a dangerous accident. When driving, it’s not just the driver that is responsible, but as well as the passenger. Distracted driving should be taken seriously, educate yourself and others to avoid the accident.
Investigating Distracted driver accidents
To prove negligence, your attorney will investigate. While doing this so, you must get hold of:
- After the accident and after you’ve been check by the paramedics, it is ideal to get hold of witnesses and another victims’ statement.
- Police record. While medical care is important, it is also advised to gather police report and official conclusions of the accident.
- Phone records. As the phone is often the reason for this accident, it is a good move to get a hold of phone records of the defendant to confirm that texting or a call occurred on the time that the accident happened.
- If you are a victim that has gained huge mental and physical trauma, it is highly advised to get an expert on accident reconstructions’ opinion to verify that there was no other cause but the driver’s negligence.
Compensation and Legal Assistance
As mentioned, visual, manual and cognitive distraction takes away the focus of the driver. Those distracted drivers are often the cause of accidents on highways and a significant cause of injuries.
Seek help with legal attorneys, protect your rights with a negligence lawsuit. Distracted drivers can be held reliable for injuries that result from the accident.
An injured victim if won the case may recover damages for past and future medical expenses, emotional damage, property damage, loss of wages, and other compensation. However, when a victim contributed to the accident, a lesser amount of compensation may be given to him/her.
In summary, instead of going through the long ordeal of getting injured, losing loved ones, going to court and dragging things for a long time, prevention is the best thing.
To educate individuals, be a part of distracted-driving advocates in local communities. Lastly, always keep in mind that when driving, it is not only your safety that is on your hands but also people on other cars as well as pedestrians. Keeping a clear head always is the key to driving safely.
Our society gets more advanced in technology, texting, and phone usage has been a huge factor of a distracted driving accident and has been steadily increasing yearly.
As a simple reminder, always think about your action whether it’s checking your message or makeup if it’s worth risking yours and your passengers’ lives. If you must make a call, send messages, etc., you can pull over to the side of the road first and do those things.
Don’t let distraction turn to taking away lives.