Highway traffic has dropped over the last few weeks, but distracted driving remains a threat even when motorists take shorter or limited trips. The month of April is formally designated as distracted driving month and stands a reminder of the part played by distracted drivers in serious car accidents.
There are almost 3,000 traffic fatalities each year from distracted driving in this country. Texting and driving has become among the fastest growing distractions.
Texting or even taking a few seconds to adjust the music are dangerous because these distractions divert the driver’s attention from the road for three or four seconds. This is like driving, at highway speeds, the length of a football field while blindfolded.
Any distracting activity is also risky when it lowers the driver’s concentration even if they are still watching the road. Drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to be in accidents that can lead to injuries. Operating a hands-held or hands-free device impairs a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol content level that exceeds the legal limit in all states.
Other common types of distractions persist. These include adjusting seats and mirrors, using GPS devices, applying makeup, eating and drinking, reaching for personal items, talking to passengers, applying makeup, buckling seatbelts and adjusting the radio, iPod or CD player.
It is also disturbing that motorists still resist changing this reckless behavior. Fifty-two percent of respondent drivers said they talked on a handheld phone while driving during the previous 30 days in a recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Over 40 percent of drivers admitted that they read a text or email while driving. Thirty-two percent of motorists in that survey also said that they sent a text or email while they were operating their vehicle.
Damages from these accidents can be devastating and expensive and obtaining evidence and pursuing a claim can require legal representation. An attorney can pursue the right to compensation and protect a victim’s rights in lawsuits or settlement negotiations.