Distracted driving has become so widely recognized as a source of injuries and fatalities on the nation’s roadways that April has been named National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It is estimated that more than 10 million drivers across the nation are driving distractedly at any given time, whether talking on a cell phone, trying to send a text, or simply not paying attention as they drive.
The frequency of distracted driving is seen in U.S. accident and fatality statistics linked to it. In 2014, it was reported that distracted driving caused 9 fatalities and 1,060 injuries on the nation’s roads every day. That’s one death every 2.6 hours and 44 injuries per hour.
#Justdrive campaign aims to eliminate distraction
The National Safety Council (NSC) kicked off National Distracted Driving Month by publicizing the hashtag #justdrive.
The campaign is intended to call attention to the ways in which drivers need to become aware of dangerous behaviors. Distracted driving is often seen as something other people do. Some people also believe that stationary devices — those already affixed to the car — do not cause distraction. In fact, many observers believe that talking is just as distracting as trying to text.
The NSC pointed out that its data indicate 47% of drivers think that sending a text with their hands or dictating it is safe. Nearly that number — 45% — have felt pressure to multi-task while driving, performing such activities as checking e-mail.
Nearly that number, 44%, have actually crashed while driving to work or traveling for business within the last three years.
The numbers are equally sobering for teenagers. More than one-third indicate that they use social media while driving. Seventeen percent believe they drove distractedly enough to contribute to a car accident.
New York State laws on distracted driving
The laws in New York State are succinctly expressed by the state’s anti-distracted driving campaign tagline: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” It is against the law to drive and hold a portable electronic device such as a smartphone, whether your activity is talking, texting (sending and reading), scanning online material, playing games, or sending and viewing images.
The penalty includes fines and points on a driver’s license.
Currently, it is legal to talk when a mobile telephone is hands free or attached to the vehicle. Talking on a telephone to summon an emergency vehicle is also not subject to the law above.
If you are ready to contact a NY car accident lawyer
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are practicing attorneys well versed in New York State accident law. Distracted driving law is complex and it is wise to consult an attorney if you or a loved one is involved in a case where distracted driving is at issue. We will protect your rights.
Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and what the next steps could be. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with a seasoned New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer today.
Additional “distracted driving accident” resources:
- Halsey, Ashley III. “Distracted Driving: 9 Die, 1,060 Hurt Each Day, CDC Says.” Washington Post, February 24, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2014/02/24/distracted-driving-9-die-1060-hurt-each-day-cdc-says/?utm_term=.80f9283a8f02
- National Safety Council. Top Things Drivers are Doing That Threaten Traffic Safety. http://www.nsc.org/Connect/NSCNewsReleases/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=191
- New York State. Distracted Driving, Talking, & Texting. http://www.safeny.ny.gov/phon-ndx.htm