Distracted driving is a very real problem with very real consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving results in personal injury over 1,000 times a day. Additionally, distracted driving causes 9 deaths each day in the United States alone.
Cell Phone Laws Which May Reduce Personal Injury and Death
Across the country, states are considering distracted driving a public health issue. As of June 2017, the CDC reports texting while driving bans in the District of Columbia and 46 states, including Florida.
Two additional states call for a ban on new drivers texting while driving. Further, 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, ban drivers from using hand-held phones in any fashion while driving.
Distracted Driving Defined
Basically, “distracted driving” is driving while the driver’s attention is on something other than driving. There are three main types of distracted driving. They include:
- Visual distractions
- Manual distractions
- Cognitive distractions
Anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road is a visual distraction. This could be looking for a phone number on a cell phone, turning to see what’s going on with the kids in the back seat, or focusing on GPS instead of driving.
Manual distractions occur when the driver takes their hands off the wheel. This could include reaching for a dropped item on the floor, putting food in one’s mouth, or combing one’s hair.
Things that take the driver’s mind off driving are referred to as cognitive distractions. This might include such things as engaging in an argument with a passenger, daydreaming, or reading while driving.
Some things, such as putting on make-up or checking email, involve all three types of distractions. Studies show drivers who use a hand-held device while driving are four times as likely as non-users to get into accidents that cause personal injury to themselves or others.
The highest proportion of distraction-related fatalities are attributable to drivers under the age of 20. In 2015, the CDC found 42% of high school students reported sending either a text or an email while driving. Additionally, students who texted frequently while driving engaged in other risky behavior that can lead to personal injury.
- Student texters were less likely to wear a seatbelt
- They were more likely to drink and drive
- The study found they were more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking prior to driving
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
Plan ahead, taking into account potential distractions. Eat before you go or after you arrive – or have someone else drive while you eat. Locate your sunglasses, your favorite radio station, and program the GPS before you leave the driveway. Have a plan for cell phone use; consider turning it off entirely. If you cannot turn it off, send any necessary texts before you leave or after you arrive at your destination. There are also apps available that notify callers and texters that you are driving and will return their call once you have reached a place where you can safely do so.
If You Have Been Hurt
If you have been hurt because of a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. The distracted driver may be responsible for your medical bills, time off work, future medical bills, disability, and pain and suffering. At Fetterman & Associates, our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury cases such as distracted driving. Call us for a no obligation consultation at 561-845-2510.