Distracted Driver Awareness Month An Opportunity To Save Lives
April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, a time to recognize the factors that take a driver’s eyes off the road.
The National Safety Council estimates that more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year and cell phone use is the leading cause.
That means that every day, more than eight people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes reported to involve distracted driving, which includes activities such as talking on a cell phone, texting and eating, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Cell phones have proven to be one of the top distractions for drivers behind the wheel, and could mean serious consequences.
Contrary to what most adults and teens believe, teens are not the age group in the greatest percentile of texting drivers, but they are the most likely to be killed or injured in an accident. Of older drivers between 19 and 24-years old, 42% admit to distracted driving. That number is even higher for drivers between 25 and 29 years of age, at 45%. However, the chances of teens being in an accident while texting are 400% greater than an adult who is texting.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive.
- Visual distracted driving: By far the riskiest distraction. This is anything that can take your eyes off the road including phones, electronics, radios, children and even other cars or signs.
- Manual distracted driving: Anything that takes the driver’s hands off the wheel. This could be the same as many visual examples in cases people need an extra hand.
- Cognitive distracted driving: The most commonly ignored. A cognitive distraction is when a driver uses their brain to process information that is not associated with driving. This could be anything from giving voice commands to their vehicle to talking on the phone.
Distracted Driving Solutions
If police had the ability to know if you’d been distracted by your cell phone and caused a car crash, would you still text and drive?
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of one New York state father, this may soon become reality. A new device, called a Textalyzer, will allow police to determine whether the person driving was being unlawfully distracted by using technology developed by Cellebrite, an Israeli firm specializing in mobile forensics.
An officer would connect a person’s phone to their laptop in order to detect only the operating system logs, which would provide information about touchscreen use and whether someone was typing at the time of the crash.
The Textalyzer would keep conversations, contact, numbers, photos and applications data private, as to respect one’s rights to privacy.
Until now, police have had to rely solely on drivers’ or witnesses’ accounts of cell phone use. If phone records are subpoenaed, information would only show calls or texts, not any internet-based activity like social networking or music apps.
Application developers and cell phone providers have decided to take the problem into their own hands and have released a number of apps, targeted at preventing cell phone usage while driving.
One of the more popular apps available to drivers is Drivemode. It silences incoming alerts, and restricts the user’s ability to send text messages. Incoming calls go directly to voicemail. The app activates when speed reaches 15 mph and deactivates when speeds drop below that limit for 2-3 minutes. The app boasts a ‘no look’ interface so you don’t even have to as much as glance at your phone when using it. Maps and music have also been integrated into Drivemode.
However, there is one catch to this seemingly simple solution. Drivers will need to be self-disciplined in order to remember to turn the app on, and keep it on, when driving.
What Can Be Done To Stop Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is an epidemic in this country. Like any epidemic, it needs to be fought on several fronts – prevention and awareness. Requiring youths to take a distracted driving awareness course as part of obtaining a driver’s license, coupled with parents and older siblings setting a good example, could significantly slow the growth of the problem. Awareness, through public campaigns, encouraging everyone to do their part in spreading the word and discouraging friends and family from engaging in the dangerous practice would be another deterrent.
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by the recklessness of a distracted driver, you have a legitimate basis for a legal claim. You deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages and other losses. The Carlson Law Firm is ready to assist. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation
- Written by Jill Fowler