It’s no surprise that distracted driving is a major cause of car-related injuries and deaths in Bowling Green. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 25% of motor vehicle accident fatalities are a result of distracted driving. Whether its texting and driving, or talking with friends and failing to pay attention to the road, distracted driving is dangerous and can cost lives. Although there are many reasons why a driver might get distracted behind the wheel, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it causes thousands of accidents every year. Here is everything you should know about distracted driving. At Flora Templeton Stuart, we work hard to prove the other driver was distracted.
What’s In This Guide:
- What is Considered Distracted Driving?
- Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics
- Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving
- What to do if someone’s distracted driving causes you injury?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds.
At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. In the U.S. in 2018, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2018 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle. Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. According to United States Department of Transportation, in 2019, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. In Bowling Green, accidents with distracted drivers are common.
Here are the most common causes of distracted driving:
Texting and other phone manipulation
Whether texting or checking something online via a smartphone, a few seconds with your eyes off the road could be the last mistake you make. At 55 mph, a car travels 80 feet every second. Reading a text takes an average of almost five seconds. Your car could travel the length of a football field before you look back at the road.
Talking with another passenger
Let’s be realistic. Whether carpooling to work or driving with friends or family, we’re going to talk with fellow passengers. There’s a plus side to having another set of eyes on traffic, but it’s negated when conversation diverts your attention from the road. Drivers and passengers need to “save it for later” when road conditions are treacherous, traffic patterns change quickly or the conversation simply diminishes the driver’s focus.
The Global Positioning System (GPS)
We’ve become dependent on GPS to get us from point A to point B while driving. For many, using it doesn’t even seem like a choice anymore – it’s just what you do. But setting up a GPS route while driving is just as dangerous as texting. And even simply taking your attention from the road to glance down at the directions can lead to disaster. If you are going to use GPS, make sure it is mounted where you can easily see it… then turn up the volume anyway so that you can listen to the directions instead of having to constantly look at the screen.
Adjusting music or controls
Maybe you’re dying and you need to adjust the temperature. Or your child is yelling at you from the back seat to put on his music. Or the radio is just too darn loud. It may seem like a small thing to push a button or two, but it divides your attention – especially if you have to look away to do it. Small or not, it can be the difference between getting in an accident and having a smooth trip.
Smoking-related behaviors include smoking, lighting a cigarette and tapping away the ashes. Fewer Americans smoke cigarettes than ever before. But, smoking still contributes to fatal distracted driving crashes. Smoking and driving is dangerous because it involves taking your hand off the wheel.
The process of lighting and smoking a cigarette takes time. Your eyes and attention will be off the road. Also, your hand will be off of the wheel. It will be more difficult to react to situations on the road with a cigarette in your hand.
Eating or Drinking
It’s hard to resist the french fries you just bought from the fast food drive-thru. But, taking your hand off the wheel to eat or drink is risky. Enjoy your food in the parking lot before continuing on the road. Or, fight the urge and wait until you get to your destination.
If you’re on a long road trip, eat at a rest stop or picnic area. It’s better to be a few minutes behind schedule than try to eat a sandwich while driving. Don’t let hot fries be the cause of your fatal distracted driving crash.
Being “lost in thought,” or daydreaming is a major reason for distracted driving crashes. It’s easy for your mind to wander, especially during long drives. But when you’re thinking about your upcoming vacation, it takes longer for you to react. Daydreaming takes your attention off the events happening on the road.
Even though your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road, your thoughts are not on driving. Your reaction time will be slower as you take your focus away from the task of driving. A split-second could be the difference between rear-ending a car in front of you and stopping in time. Don’t be the cause of a fatal distracted driving accident. Keep your mind on the road.
Drivers who succumb to distractions can be considered negligent if the distraction causes an accident that results in injuries to another person. This means that if you are injured, you collect damages from the distracted driver. Your attorney can help you collect evidence and witness testimony that may demonstrate the driver’s distraction and strengthen your case for receiving compensation for your injuries. Distracted drivers cause accidents every day in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
At Flora Templeton Stuart, we have significant experience with car accident cases involving all types of driver negligence, and we can help you get the compensation you need for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Contact us today to learn more and get started at our local Bowling Green office.