April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Distracted driving is nothing new, but with the ease and convenience of handheld devices, it’s become more prevalent and more dangerous than ever. What makes it so dangerous isn’t the activity itself but the frequency and length of time it occupies your attention away from the road. Unfortunately, when it comes to driving, anyone’s life can be taken in an instant. This article will examine distracted driving and its impact on the roads we drive on and, hopefully, prevent deadly accidents.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving takes on many forms, and almost every driver participates in these activities at least once while driving. Some examples of distracted driving include passenger and pedestrian interaction, eating, drinking, grooming, doing makeup, using a GPS, and of course, using a smartphone. Essentially anything that takes your attention away from being 100% focused on driving is potentially a life-threatening distraction
What Are The Consequences?
Distracted driving is not only dangerous, in many states, it’s illegal. In Virginia, it’s illegal to use a handheld device while driving. If caught texting while driving, there is a $125 fine for the first offense and a $250 fine for each subsequent violation. However, no amount of money can bring someone’s life back to the way it was before a devastating accident.
One of the biggest dangers of distracted driving is the risk of a crash. Distracted drivers are naturally more likely to be involved in a crash than attentive drivers. When attention is focused elsewhere, reaction times are dramatically slower. By the time a distracted driver realizes that there is a dangerous situation, it’s often too late to take evasive action, which results in an accident.
What makes distracted driving even more dangerous to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, is that it’s a habitual behavior. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed the lives of over 3,000 people in 2020 alone, and a large percentage of reported accidents found distracted driving to be the primary cause. The accumulation of instances where a driver is distracted can compound and develop into a deadly habit.
Accidents and even distracted driving may not be completely preventable, but willful and habitual distracted driving is absolutely preventable. You may be able to avoid potential accidents caused by distracted driving by making a conscious effort to avoid distractions while behind the wheel.
In the event that something needs your immediate attention, make it a habit to safely pull over, or use a parking lot to take a phone call. Even if you are aware of the signs of distracted driving, such as swerving, drifting, or otherwise erratic behavior, and avoid these scenarios, there is still a chance that you will be a victim of an accident. If you or your organization would like to utilize the expertise of our firm for an educational presentation on distracted driving, we are happy to do so at no cost.
Additionally, if you have been injured by someone driving while distracted, call (703) 879-5910 or contact Blaszkow Legal, PLLC through our online form.