As an attorney who handles cases where people are seriously and sometimes fatally injured in accidents, all too often I see accidents caused by distracted driving. Many people do not know that distracted driving is more than texting or being on a phone while driving. It is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. It can include taking your mind off the task of driving, taking your hands off the steering wheel or your taking your eyes away from the road. It does not only occur amongst teens, but by people of all ages.
A recent study by insurance companies shows the following top 10 reasons people become distracted while driving:
- Lost in a thought- 63%
- Cell phone use- 12%
- Outside event/person (rubbernecking)- 7%
- Other occupants( talking or looking while driving)- 5%
- Using or reaching for devices- 2%
- Eating or drinking- 2%
- Adjusting radio/ climate in car- 2%
- Using other controls (rearview mirror, seats, etc)- 1%
- Moving objects in vehicle (pet or insect)- 1%
- Smoking related ( lighting, hot ashes)- 1%
(Statistics by Fatality Analysis Reporting, a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle accidents maintained by the Nationally Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Currently, four states have laws against distracted driving generally, 41 states have laws specifically prohibiting texting while driving, 12 states require hands-free devices while driving and 39 states ban all cell phone use while driving. As a participant in an organization that lectures to students and the community to end distracted driving, I am hopeful that these laws and the awareness of how to prevent distracted driving will reduce the fatalities and injuries that too often end or tragically ruin a life.
If your school, organization, community or group is interested in ending distracted driving, please contact me. I will be glad to give a free presentation to make drivers more aware of the effects of distracted driving and offer alternatives to keep drivers and the community safe.