Almost every time we get behind the wheel of a car our driving space is affected by drivers who are distracted by cell phone calls, texting and other distractions. We see it all the time with drivers driving under the speed limit in the right hand lane, or drivers on cell phone devices making turns without using proper signaling or even drivers just driving down the road without a care in the world, paying more attention to their cell phones than to the traffic they are in. Every minute of every day we come across distracted drivers sharing our city streets and highways. Whether it is someone looking down at a device, women applying make-up in mirrors, surfing the channels on their radios, eating food or drinking beverages, these drivers believe they are operating their vehicles in too safe a space, to pay attention to what other drivers are doing. All anyone has to do is take a moment and just observe their fellow drivers and they will see how common driving while distracted really is. But don’t let yourself get distracted while you are driving by those already distracted. We live in a society where distracted drivers are sharing the road with other distracted drivers, all going in the same direction, all headed towards the next accident that might occur.
Injuries & Deaths Due to Distracted Drivers
Every day over 8 people are killed and another 1200 people are injured in crashes that involve at least one distracted driver. The worst outcome that can develop due to drivers, driving distracted, are accidents occurring with injuries and even sometimes death. Unfortunately, the majority of these distracted drivers were looking elsewhere when the accident occurred, rather than focusing their attention on the road and possibly preventing the accident altogether. In 2014, according to Distraction.gov, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in automobile crashes involving a distracted driver. The CDC defines distracted driving as “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” There are many ways a driver of a vehicle can become distracted and below we have categorized them into 3 main groups.
There are 3 main types of Driving Distractions
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road, either briefly or for long periods of time.
- Manual: taking your hand off of the steering wheel or not having complete control of the steering if a problem were to develop.
- Cognitive: not giving your full attention to the task of operating a vehicle, thus taking your mind off what you are doing and not being in a position to react if a traffic event should occur.
Many states have enacted laws regarding the use of cell phones, such are banning the use of non-hands free cellular devices and texting while driving. Some states have established where and when a driver can safely use their cell phone, like in a stationary vehicle position at a traffic light. Many states have enacted laws establishing a graduated driver licensing system for teen drivers, to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and the use of mobile devices while operating a vehicle. They believe that education on the dangers of distracted driving will limit the frequency of accidents occurring. Florida Law prohibits texting while driving and drivers who are caught texting can be issued a summons. However, it is very difficult to police drivers who carelessly use their cell phones while operating a car, truck or other vehicle because of the number of police available to oversee driver behaviors and the widespread disregard for the law when it comes to texting while driving.
Tips for Distraction Free Driving
Here are a few ways in which you can limit your distractions while driving and become a more cognizant driver.
- Make a conscious effort not to use a cell phone while driving. If you have to, use it while at a traffic light for a short period of time or pull over to the side of the road to use it.
- Do not drive with too many passengers as the risk of distractions grows significantly.
- Don’t eat food while operating a vehicle.
- Confine pets to carriers in your vehicle and never allow the pet to occupy the seat with you while driving the vehicle. This will limit the risk of an animal interfering with your driving.
- Try to set your music, car temperature and/or navigation prior to driving or use the devices on your steering wheel to help you change channels or control volume.
- Never drive when tired or drowsy.
- Tell all passengers to keep their voices down so as not to distract you and never allow rough housing to occur in a moving vehicle.
- Never text and drive.
These are a few tips that can help a driver from becoming distracted while driving on our roads and highways. These are important factors governing driver behaviors so that the sole purpose of driving a vehicle is to operate the car safely, with a minimal amount of distractions. It is important when you are behind the wheel, that driving your vehicle is your sole focus. It would be tragic to lose your life or take the life of someone else because you were negligent enough to cause an accident due to texting or driving while distracted.
Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney
Artie Shimek is a Pensacola personal injury attorney who has been representing injured victims and their families for almost 30 years. If you or a loved one has been injured in an motorcycle, truck or automobile accident you need legal representation. Give Artie and his legal team a call today for a free consultation. Our staff is ready to assist you with aggressive representation. We charge no fees, nor costs associated with your case unless you win. Call us at 850-434-7995 or visit our website at shimeklaw.com