April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

texting while drivingDriver distraction is a dangerous problem.

Because of this, traffic safety organizations and law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. have set aside April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to educate the public about distracted driving in the hopes of preventing further crashes.

With U.S. traffic fatalities surpassing 40,000 deaths in 2016, safety advocates are encouraging drivers to refrain from distracting behavior and to focus on the road and driving safely.

Auto accidents caused by distracted driving are often severe and have an extensive impact on all parties involved.

Distracted driving can include any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, including:

  • Eating
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Using a navigation system or GPS
  • Doing your makeup
  • Texting, emailing or checking social media on a cellphone
  • Talking on a cellphone

The Problem with Distracted Driving

Although a driver can be distracted by many activities while behind the wheel, the most common driver distraction is cellphone use.

Driving and cellphone use both require a high amount of concentration, making it impossible to safely engage in both activities simultaneously. Engaging in a visual-manual task while driving, such as dialing and texting, increases a driver’s crash risk by three times.

When a driver’s attention is taken away from the road, it may result in a serious crash due to delayed reactions and reduced awareness of traffic changes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 people were killed and 391,000 people were injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015.

In a 2016 survey, 54 percent of California drivers reported to have been hit or nearly hit by a driver who was using a cellphone, despite laws that ban texting and hand-held phone calls while driving.

In late 2016, Assembly Bill 1785 expanded those restrictions to prohibit all uses of a cellphone by drivers. It is now illegal for a driver to hold a device in their hands. Limited functions using hands-free devices mounted to the vehicle are legal, except for drivers under the age of 18.

Driver Complacency Creates Higher Risks on U.S. Roadways

Driver complacency and the belief that auto accidents are inevitable is one of the leading reasons for recent increases in traffic fatalities, according to the National Safety Council (NSC) President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman.

A recent NSC survey found that while 83 percent of U.S. drivers believe that roadway safety is a concern, many are comfortable with engaging in dangerous behaviors like distracted driving.

The survey’s findings include:

  • 64 percent of drivers are comfortable with speeding
  • 47 percent of drivers text while operating a vehicle
  • 13 percent of participants drive while impaired by marijuana
  • 10 percent of participants drive after consuming too much alcohol

As traffic fatalities in 2016 rose to the highest number in nearly a decade, approximately 4.6 million people were seriously injured in auto accidents and required medical attention.

Take the Pledge to Prevent Distracted Driving

The NSC is encouraging drivers to pledge against distracted driving and refrain from engaging in any activity that could jeopardize the safety of others sharing the road.

Individuals are invited to stop by the Arnold Law Firm’s Sacramento office and take the pledge to be a focused driver and resist distractions while driving.

Those who take the pledge will receive a Just Drive bracelet and will be entered into a drawing in May for the chance to win prizes that include tickets to events like Sacramento River Cats and Sacramento Republic FC games, as well as team merchandise.

As experienced personal accident lawyers, we have witnessed firsthand the aftermath caused by drivers who neglect to focus on the road.

Initiatives like Distracted Driving Awareness Month can improve the safety of the nation’s roadways and help save lives.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form and contact a personal injury lawyer today, if your car accident was caused by a distracted driver.