Multi-tasking may be convenient, but it is not always safe, especially when you are behind the wheel. Knowing these statistics about distracted driving can help keep you and your family safe on the road.
Approximately 53 percent of drivers believe that hands-free technologies and the in-vehicle communication options often installed in newer car dashboards are safe—but the data suggest that may not be the case.
QUANTIFYING THE PROBLEM
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 660,000 people use some type of electronic device while driving. This is becoming a real problem. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that around 15 percent of all fatal crashes are from distracted driving, which means they could have been prevented. There were 3,477 people killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015, while another 391,000 people were injured. In Oklahoma alone, almost 640 people were injured from distracted driving crashes in a single year and 14 people lost their lives. With figures like that, it is no wonder that people no longer feel safe on the roads. In fact, the State of Arkansas says that one-third of all drivers feel less safe than they did five years ago.
HANDS-FREE VS. BRAIN-FREE
No state completely prohibits the use of cellphones while driving, although many states do require the use of hands-free devices, and the state of Washington has just made it illegal to hold a phone while driving. However, just because your hands are free, it doesn’t mean that you are paying adequate attention. Moreover, even if you aren’t on your phone or texting, you may still be guilty of distracted driving from using your vehicle’s onboard information system. AAA found that reaction time was impacted for a full 27 seconds after using an in-vehicle device such as GPS or interacting with an automated virtual assistant like Apple’s Siri. AAA explains that “even after drivers put down the phone or stop fiddling with the navigation system, drivers aren’t fully engaged with the driving task.”
Distracted driving makes you swerve outside your lane, react more slowly than you would have otherwise, and puts you and your family at risk. Make sure you are not part of the problem. Before you drive distracted by your phone, understand the facts surrounding this dangerous behavior, and help keep roads safe for everyone. You could save a life as well as a call to a car accident lawyer by waiting to send your message until you can do so safely. If you want to learn more about how Caddell Reynolds can help, contact our office at (800) 889-6944. Our lawyers are ready to work for you.