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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month!

April 8, 2024 - BLASZKOW LEGAL, PLLC April 8, 2024

Distracted Driving is Dangerous!

April is designated nationally as Distracted Driving Awareness Month! Distracted driving is defined any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of operating their motor vehicle, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system — in short, anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main categories:

  • Manual,

  • Visual

  • Cognitive

Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.

Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.

Cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving.

Texting while driving involves all three types of distraction. Cell Phone use while driving is another common type of distraction. Studies done by the University of Utah tell us that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. And cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers. Text messaging for commercial drivers increases the risk of crash or near-crash by 23 times!!!

Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph NHTSA.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides annual reports of distracted driving fatalities based on data taken from police reports. According to the most recent figures available, in 2023 there were 3,088 fatalities attributable to distracted driving nationwide. That figure is down from the 3,522 fatalities in 2022, but is still too high.

And at Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we know those numbers underestimate the reality of a distracted driving crisis. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that there is no “blood test” for distracted driving, drivers often don’t admit when they are driving distracted, and police often do not have the resources to fully investigate the ultimate causes of crashes.

NHTSA’s 2019 Report “The True Cost of Economic and Societal Impacts of Motor Vehicle Crashes, indicated that rather than 3,100 deaths per year, distracted driving fatalities were likely in excess of 10,000 per year. Accordingly, the percentage of traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving likely approaches thirty percent

Many of us get angry when we see others driving distracted, yet many of us drive distracted ourselves. Reducing distracted driving and saving lives will require us to change the way we think about distracted driving.

Over 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send an email while driving. Nevertheless, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month. (According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety).

Here are some simple guides that anyone can adopt to help cut down on distracted driving related accidents:

-Need to send a text? Pull over and park your car in a safe location.

-Designate your passenger as your “designated texter” to respond to calls or messages.

-Do not scroll through apps while driving.

-Struggling not to text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

If you have been hurt by a Distracted Driver, speak to a car accident lawyer right away!

Crashes involving distracted drivers can be just as horrific as those caused by DUI drivers, because both are impaired - one by booze, and the other by distractions. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, call Blaszkow Legal, PLLC for aggressive and experienced legal representation - 703-879-5910