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Distracted Driving Continues to Be a Major Problem

October 4, 2016

Distracted Driving: A Dangerous Epidemic

According to the US Department of Transportation, distracted driving is a “dangerous epidemic on American roadways” that claims thousands of lives every year. Amanda Clark is one of many teens who has been killed while texting and driving. As a senior at Oakdale High School in Oakdale, California, Amanda was involved in her first distracted driving accident. While texting, she ran a stop sign and was broadsided by another driver. Amanda escaped that accident with minor injuries, but a year later, she was texting and driving again when she lost control of her vehicle on the highway and crashed. She died shortly thereafter.

Tragic stories like Amanda’s are far too common. Among teens, distracted driving is an especially alarming issue. According to Impact Teen Drivers, teens are three times more likely to crash when they have three passengers in the car, 12 times more likely to crash when they reach for their phone to check a text message, and 16 times more likely when they respond to a text. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety supports these findings, attributing 6 out of 10 teen crashes to distracted driving. Twelve percent of those crashes are caused by cell phone use. AAA compiled the following video to illustrate just how distracting cell phones can be:

Despite the advent and rise of hands-free technology, traffic-related distracted driving incidents remain high, for both teen and adult drivers. This is because hands-free devices still require a measure of concentration, which means drivers take their attention off the road. In fact, even after drivers finish using their hands-free devices, their focus is still impaired. Recent AAA studies contribute this to “distraction latency” that lasts an average of 27 seconds so that, “even after drivers put down the phone or stop fiddling with the navigation system, drivers aren’t fully engaged with the driving task.” In short, hands-free doesn’t mean accident-free, and it certainly doesn’t mean safe.

Cell Phones Aren’t the Only Source of Distracted Driving

Of course, hands-free technology and cell phones, are not the only sources of distracted driving. The city of Reno recently passed the “inattentive driving” law, which allows officers to ticket drivers for everything from eating to applying makeup to playing with their pets. The state of New Jersey is considering passing similar legislation that contains some of the harshest distracted driving penalties to date. Under their new laws, the initial fine for distracted driving could cost as much as $400, and each fine thereafter would double in cost. In short, city, state, and federal officials are taking matters seriously as they strive to combat distracted driving and make our roadways safer.

The Law Office of William D. Cook: Helping Car Crash Victims

Despite strict laws, shocking statistics, and increasing awareness about this issue, distracted driving continues to be a major problem, resulting in more than 5,000 deaths each year. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a distracted driver, contact the Law Office of William D. Cook. We are a family firm, committed to defending your rights and providing you with excellent legal representation. Call us now at 1-800-757-7757 for a free consultation. We look forward to serving you.

References 

Distracted driving. (2016). AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Retrieved from https://www.aaafoundation.org/distracted-driving?gclid=CPzsncWt1c4CFUUkhgodLlcA3A

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2016). Distracted driving news. Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving. Retrieved from: http://www.distraction.gov/

Tracy, E. (2016, April 10). She survived her first driving-while-texting accident – but not her second. Charlotte Observer. Retrieved from: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article71022122.html

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