April, the designated month for distracted driving awareness, may be nearly over but the need to educate drivers about the hazards of distracted driving continues year-round.
The attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye would like to remind drivers that distracted driving takes the lives of hundreds every year, and is one of the top preventable causes of death and serious injury in the U.S. today.
Defining distracted driving
There are many different activities drivers might participate in while behind the wheel that would fall under the category of distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver’s mind off the driving task, eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. By this definition, distracted driving might include eating and drinking, adjusting music devices, typing a destination into a navigation system or personal grooming like combing hair or applying makeup.
One of the biggest culprits in distracted driving today is cellphone use. Drivers may use the phones to have conversations, send and receive texts or emails or even watch videos. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 660,000 drivers may be using cellphones or other electronic devices while behind the wheel at any given time.
One reason that cellphone use remains a common problem among motorists appears to be a lack of awareness about just how dangerous this practice can be. Some cellphone users argue that it only takes a matter of seconds to read a brief text. However, even five seconds with your eyes off the road when traveling 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the full length of a football field blindfolded.
Others argue that hands-free devices keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making them a safer option than handheld devices. However, research has indicated conversations using hands-free devices may cause drivers to miss important visual or audio cues that could help prevent an accident.
Impact of distracted driving
Despite the perception that some types of cellphone use might be safe while driving, the statistics indicate otherwise. According to the Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving, 3,179 people were killed in accidents involving distracted driving in 2014. Another 431,000 were injured. The CDC reports that in 2013, nearly one of every five injury accidents that occurred involved distracted driving.
Every day, Americans lose loved ones in cell phone related accidents. Some of the victims that are injured in these accidents may end up with catastrophic, life-changing injuries that affect their ability to function and earn a living to support their families. The medical bills, lost wages and other financial impacts of these accidents can also take their toll on the victim and family.
If you or someone you love is injured or killed in a distracted driving accident, do not try to navigate the complex legal process alone. An attorney experienced in these types of accidents can help you understand your rights and pursue all of the compensation you might be entitled to.
The personal injury attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye help victims of New York distracted driving accidents every day. To arrange a free case review, please call our offices at 1-800-469-7429.
- National Safety Council, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-awareness-month.aspx
- Distraction.gov, FAQs, http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/faq.html
- Huffington Post, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-feldman/april-is-distracted-drivi_b_9743162.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Distracted Driving, http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/