While drinking and driving was the hot topic in past decades, the newest killer on the roads is often caused by an item few people even had twenty years ago. Distracted driving has become the hot topic, causing an estimated 15 auto accident deaths a day with cell phones being one of the top contributors.
What Is Distracted Driving?
While the phrase is pretty self-explanatory, distracted driving is considered to be any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the road. This can include several scenarios:
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Talking on a cell phone
- Texting with a cell phone
- Talking to other passengers
- Reading or watching videos
- Adjusting stereo or navigation system
Distracted driving was reported to have killed 3092 people in 2010 and injured 416,000 others. It is reported to be the reason for 18% of car accidents.
Cell Phones, Driving & Serious Accidents
The reason that cell phone usage is targeted as the most alarming activity associated with distracted driving is due to the effects on the driver while using a cell phone. When talking on a phone, there is a loss of physical control and focus. When texting on a cell phone, the distraction is even worse.
- Text messaging causes a crash risk 23 times more than non-distracted driving.
- The average text message takes a driver’s eyes form the road for 4.6 seconds, the time it takes to drive the length of a football field at 55 MPH.
- 52% of drivers ages 18-29 reported that they have texted while driving in the last 30 days.
- Steering capabilities are reduced 91% while texting.
Distracted driving is almost always preventable. Education into the dangers of distracted driving is the first step and there are already laws being passed against cell phone use and driving. On October 27, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a ban that prohibits commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving. President Obama also issued an executive order banning federal employees from texting and driving while conducting Federal business.
For some reason people who would never get behind the wheel after having alcoholic beverages will still answer their cell phone while driving, creating similar risks to themselves and those around them as an impaired driver. Hopefully, with the focus on the dangers of distracted driving prevalent in the headlines and in many new laws, this deadly behavior can be changed.
Resources Related To Distracted Drivers:
Jonathan Rosenfeld is a Chicago personal injury and medical malpractice attorney. Visit his website here: http://www.rosenfeldinjurylawyers.com/