April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month: How Much Do You Really Know?

New York Car Accident Attorney

Ask 100 people whether distracted driving results in more car accidents and it’s likely that everyone will answer yes.  However, what we know and what we do are often two very different things.  The National Safety Council (NSC) has designated April 2014 as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  The facts and statistics below show that distracted driving is an increasingly complex problem.  How much do you really know?

25% of All Car Crashes Involve Cell Phone Use

That statistic may or may not be shocking, depending upon whom you ask.  Most people carry their cell phones with them everywhere they go.  In fact, many have simply done away with their “land lines” because they always have their cells with them.  However, just because you have it in the car with you, doesn’t mean it’s safe to use while driving.  The result is that thousands of people die needlessly each year because people continue to use their cell phones while driving – handheld or hands-free.

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the NSC is asking people to pledge to drive cell free, recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit and understand the dangers of cognitive distraction to the brain.

  • Pledge to Drive Cell Free.  Driving is a complex task that requires eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and the brain focused on the task of driving. Drivers engaged in cell phone conversations, handheld or hands-free, are cognitively distracted and can fail to see up to 50% of their driving environment, including stop signs, pedestrians and red lights.  Pledging to drive cell free can make a difference.
  • Recognize That Hands-Free Devices Offer No Safety Benefit.  Drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in a car crash.  The NSC estimates that 21% of all traffic crashes in the U.S. occur while people are talking on cell phones, regardless of whether they’re holding them or not, while driving.

Dashboard infotainment features such as talk, text, email and social media actually distract drivers – even though they are considered to be hands-free.  The most effective way to drive safely is to recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit and that means keeping your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on driving.

  • Understand The Dangers Of Cognitive Distraction To The Brain. The activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to 33% when listening to or talking on a phone.  The bottom line is that multi-tasking simply can’t be done while driving.

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the NSC invites everyone to share its cell phone distracted driving facts and statistics with others – as the problem is actually larger than most people realize.

Only Half of Fatal Car Crashes Involving Distracted Drivers Are Reported 

Cell phone use that contributes to fatal car crashes is only reported in about half of the cases according to analysis done by the NSC and the National Traffic Safety Administration’s (NTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

The reason for the underreporting is a basic lack of continuity.  Crash data is collected as the scene of the accident, recorded by police, compiled by state agencies and uploaded into FARS.  Basically, there’s a lot of room for error and a lot more distracted driving accidents that don’t get reported.

We Know It’s Wrong, But We Do It Anyway

We all understand that doing anything other than driving, when driving, is distracting and can lead to car accidents that result in serious injury or death.  Yet, we do it anyway.  In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that more than two in three drivers report talking on their cell phone while driving at least once in the past 30 days.  Nearly one in three report doing this fairly often or regularly.

If you’ve been injured by someone who was driving while distracted, contact an experienced New York car accident attorney to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, permanent disability, mental impairment, earning capacity impairment, loss of profits, medical bills, repair or replacement of property and more.

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