Distracted Driving: More than just a statistic
In 2011, 17 percent of all injury crashes were the result of distracted driving. To put this statistic in perspective, in the same year, 3,331 people were killed in car crashes caused by or in conjunction with distracted driving.
We’ve all done it: Played with the radio; Glanced down at your smartphone; Searched the internet. Those are a few different examples that amount to one thing: distracted driving.
Distracted driving is dangerous. It can be the difference in arriving home safely or changing your life or someone else’s life forever. Trust us, we like to check our phones as much as the next person, but while on the road, it’s not safe, and it’s destroying more and more lives.
Many compare distracted driving to drunk driving, which is why New York lawmakers are considering a Senate Bill that would authorize police to use a “textalyzer” at the scene of an accident. Police would use this textalyzer technology to determine if there is cause to proceed with a criminal case.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Common distracted driving activities include:
- Texting or any use of a cellphone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the radio
Though a text may only take two or three seconds, it only takes a split second to cause a life changing accident.
Don’t Text: It’s the Law
In Louisiana, current laws ban the following distracted driving activities:
- Accessing social media
- Drivers 18 and under are banned from using a hand held cell phone while driving.
- Drivers in school zones are banned from using a hand held cell phone while driving.
It’s not easy to refrain from responding to a text message when you know that your response will only take a few seconds. And, sure it’s easy to avoid a ticket while texting and driving, but there’s a reason it’s against the law: it’s dangerous. It’s important to realize the dangers you put yourself and others in when participating in these distracted driving behaviors.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Distracted Driving
So, how can you prevent yourself from driving while distracted? We’ve compiled a short list of do’s and don’ts to help:
- DO put your phone in the glove compartment, middle console, or even the backseat. Inconveniently placing your phone away from you should help keep you from noticing every trivial notification that pops up while driving. Leave it there until you’ve reached your destination.
- DON’T save the last of your cosmetic routine for the ride into work. Applying makeup or fixing your hair is a distracted driving action and isn’t worth the risk. While it might look good in your mug shot, it won’t look good when your face goes through the wind shield. Consider waking up earlier or doing without.
- DO wear a seatbelt and obey the speed limit at all times while driving. In the event of an accident, abiding by both of these laws will significantly decrease your chance of serious injury or death. Take notice next time you’re on the road when the slow car you just sped by, ends up right next to you at the next stop light. Speeding usually saves little to no time, and greatly increases the risk of a collision and severity of injuries.
- DON’T talk on your phone and drive. This is probably the hardest tip to follow. Everyone can multi-task…until they can’t. While you won’t get a ticket in most instances, talking on your phone is distracted driving that could lead to an accident and injuries.
- DO be aware of Louisiana laws regarding distracted driving. Most people realize that texting and driving is against the law, but many do not realize that it is against the law to simply be on your phone in a school zone. Being aware of the laws you are expected to follow will help you to be a more informed and safer driver.
- DON’T wait until you are on the road to eat. Eating while driving is distracted driving. We know, we know, you’re busy! (and you’re hungry) Sometimes there just doesn’t seem like enough time in the day. But, consider waiting until you reach your destination or blocking out time in your busy schedule for meals.
- DO know your destination before you get on the road. With the increasing convenience, quickness and accuracy of GPS and navigation systems, it is tempting to hop in the car and enter your destination as you drive. You shouldn’t be looking at your phone or navigation system in the first place, but the attention required to enter an address or find a business is too much to attempt while operating a vehicle.
Distracted driving is not done out of malice. Most of the time, we drive distracted because we’re pressed for time and figure it’s harmless. Sometimes we do it because we are bored. Usually we get away with it, but next time could be different. Be proactive about your own tendencies to drive distracted, and be aware of the distracted driving of others. You never know what a split second of distraction can lead to.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, do not hesitate to contact the accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Matt & Allen. We will be by your side to help you through this difficult time. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve for your personal injury case.