April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Although we are a little late getting the news out that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, this is a subject that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind every month, given the lethal problem it has become in society.  People often want to think of teen drivers as the culprits, but this is not true.  This problem has become the vice of adult drivers, with teen texting frequency being 31 percent for 16 to 18 year olds, young adult texting frequency being 42 percent for 19 to 24 year olds, and 20’s texting frequency being 45 percent for 25 to 29 year olds.  It does not stop there, either, as drivers older than that are certainly not immune to engaging in the distracted driving practice causing injuries and fatalities.  In fact, studies have shown that typical drivers out on the roads on a daily basis are distracted over half the time they drive.  The distractions can be anything that makes them take their eyes off the road, even for a second. 

A study done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows that intense emotions being experienced by drivers is a major form of distracted driving, with drivers who are emotionally distressed being at ten times greater risk of causing or being involved in a motor vehicle accident.  Other popular forms of distracted driving come from cell phones, reading, writing, and using touchscreen menus, but can also be from eating, putting makeup on and so many other behaviors seen on the roads.  Other problems leading to high severity crashes include driver impairment and fatigue, with those and distracted driving causing 90 percent of 905 crashes analyzed by the Virginia Tech researchers.  This shows that human error is leading to crashes that injure, maim, and kill. 

The National Safety Council has determined by a study that more than a quarter of accidents are caused by distracted driving in the United States alone.  Out of an approximate number of 5.69 million U.S. accidents in 2013, 1.2 million of them were drivers using their cell phones.  This number does not even account for other distracted driving causes, but in looking at the cell phone, drivers are 8 to 23 times more likely to cause an accident when distracted by cell phones.  These numbers could actually be low, as distracted driving is underreported but an extreme problem in this country.  Education is needed and better knowledge of and use of apps designed to prevent distracted driving.   

As we have reported in the past, Verizon and AT&T have developed apps, and if one visits the app store on their phone it is clear there are multiple ones to choose from, such as LifeSaver, AT&T DriveMode, Canary, and others.  A good challenge for your family this year might be to download an app each and use them for a week.  This could open everyone’s eyes to the extent of distracted driving that is going on, as well as point to which one might work best for you and your family.  Canary, for instance, will track a driver’s location and speed, as well as alert others in your household whenever one of your member drivers has unlocked their cell phone while driving.  The reports will divulge that the phone was being used, while going 55 miles for instance, and pinpoint where.  The reports can then be utilized to get a dialogue going at your house about distracted driving and consequences. 

If you or a loved one has been in an injury accident, or you have lost someone to a fatal accident caused by a distracted driver, do not hesitate to contact us at Inserra & Kelley Law Offices .    You may be entitled to compensation and our firm wants every driver out there safely arriving to their destinations.  Please end distracted driving on your own part and be ready for defensive driving out on roads filled with others who have not yet taken a pledge of stopping distracted driving behaviors.  Your life, and the lives of your loved ones, may depend on it!