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Distracted Driving Puts Everyone at Risk

Motor vehicle accidents may occur due to many different types of driver negligence, including drunk driving, violating traffic laws, aggressive driving behaviors, and much more. One negligent act of which almost every driver in the United States has been guilty is distracted driving. No matter how careful of a driver you may be, it is always easy for you to become distracted for a few seconds. Unfortunately, it only takes a few seconds to cause a collision that results in devastating injuries and possibly death. According the to United States government, an estimated 424,000 individuals[1] suffered some type of injury in an accident caused by distracted driving in 2013 alone. More than 3,100 of those accident victims did not survive. These statistics demonstrate how widespread of a problem distracted driving can be and just how many people may suffer due to a distracted driver. Distracted diving continues to be one of the leading causes of automobile accidents. Distracted driving endangers passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation, last year, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving related collisions. The worst part about this is that most people, whether they realize it or not, are distracted drivers. Distracted driving is any type of activity that can cause a driver to lose focus of the road. Of course, the most common and very dangerous form of distraction is the cell phone. According to the National Safety Council using a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, makes you four times as likely to be involved in a crash and cell phones are responsible for approximately 25% of all crashes.  Texting while driving is extremely dangerous. Texting, on average, takes the drivers attention away from the road for 4.6 seconds and while traveling at a 55mph speed, is an entire football field in length. How can we feel safe on our roadways knowing that for every text message read or sent out while driving, there is a car blindly traveling the length of a football field? It is common sense and there is no excuse, we should all be putting down our phones and refraining from texting while behind the wheel. What constitutes distracted driving? In recent years, most people most closely associate distracted driving with texting or using a cell phone. However, distracted driving is considered to be operating a motor vehicle while engaging in any type of behavior that causes one or more of the following:

  • Cognitive distraction, which takes your focus away from the act of driving
  • Manual distraction, which causes you to remove your hands from the steering wheel
  • Visual distraction, which takes your eyes off of the road in front of you

As you likely know, it is extremely easy to engage in any of these types of distractions at some point while you are driving. For example, if you have a small child in the backseat and that child starts to cry, you may quickly reach over into your bag on the passenger seat, grab a toy, and hand it back to your child, checking to make sure that they did not drop it. While this action may seem completely routine for any parent, in the process this caused both manual and visual distractions and possibly a cognitive distraction, as well. Such a simple task can put your life and the lives of motorists around you in jeopardy. Some other common distracted driving behaviors include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Checking a GPS or map
  • Texting or emailing
  • Talking on the phone or to a passenger
  • Personal grooming
  • Reading
  • Focusing on an audiobook or podcast
  • Changing the radio

Texting is a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving According to the Pew Research Center,[2] 91 percent of American adults owned a cell phone as of 2013. While cell phone technology has changed the world in many ways and made us more connected than ever before, it also has created a particularly dangerous potential distraction for drivers. Texting combines all three forms of driver distraction – it requires a person to look at his or her phone while composing the message, to think about the message being composed, and to use his or her hands to enter the message into the device. To quantify how dangerous texting and driving can be, a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute[3] (VTTI) found that texting while driving increased drivers’ crash risk by 23 times.

Contact a Clearwater distracted driving attorney today to schedule a free case evaluation

At this very moment, there are almost certainly thousands of drivers on Florida roads that are distracted to some degree. When distracted drivers cause motor vehicle accidents, victims are often able to recover significant financial compensation for their injuries and other losses. While some distracted driving cases are fairly straightforward, they can also become highly contested, particularly if the distracted driver claims that a distraction was unavoidable or alleges the victim was also distracted and partially contributed to causing a crash. For this reason, it is highly advisable for anyone who has been involved in an accident in which they think distracted driving played a role to retain qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. Since 2009, the lawyers of the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA have been helping people throughout the state of Florida recover for injuries they sustained as a result of the negligence of others. To discuss your case with one of our Clearwater distracted driving lawyers at no charge, please call our office today. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33756 727-451-6900 https://www.dolmanlaw.com/legal-services/distracted-driver-attorneys/ References: [1]https://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html [2]https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/06/cell-phone-ownership-hits-91-of-adults/ [3]https://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/28/technology/28texting.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0