Help Stop Distracted Driving

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Driver safety has been an issue in the United States ever since the Duryea Motor Wagon Company unveiled the first automobile in 1893.
But in today's world-a world in which the ability to multitask is praised, where we don't have enough time to do all of the things we've signed up to do, and where cell phones and texting have become our main ways of communicating-being on the road has become even more dangerous due to the phenomenon known as "distracted driving.
" What, Exactly, is Distracted Driving? According to Distraction.
gov, the official government website for distracted driving, distracted driving is "any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.
" There are three basic types of distracted driving: visual, where you take your eyes off the road; manual, where you take your hands off the wheel; and cognitive, where you take your mind off the task of driving.
These activities include, but are not limited to, talking to passengers, eating and drinking, reading, watching a video, listening to or changing the radio station, and, of course, talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.
Distracted Driving Statistics According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,474 people were killed, and an approximate 448,000 were injured, in United States automobile accidents because of distracted driving in 2009.
Of those killed in distracted driving events, 995-or 18% of all fatalities-involved the use of cell phones.
In addition, the age group most associated with distracted driving was drivers under the age of 20.
As a matter of fact, it's estimated that 16% of drivers involved in fatal car crashes are distracted drivers.
Laws Against Distracted Driving Currently, 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam ban the use of handheld devices and texting while driving.
In addition eight states, plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, prohibit drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.
More states are adding legislation at a rapid pace.
To find out what the laws are in your state, go to the Governors Highway Safety Association website, at http://www.
ghsa.
org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.
html
.
Tips for Reducing Driver Distraction The lives of your passengers, and those of the other drivers who share the road, are significantly more important than your ringing phone, the radio station you are listening to, or ensuring that your lipstick is touched up.
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "Just this once...
" or "I can do this and watch the road at the same time...
" The truth is, all it takes is a split second for an accident to occur when you're not paying attention-an accident that can result in long-term and tragic results.
Follow these tips to reduce the amount of driver distraction on the road.
  • Turn off your phone and put it away.
    Some of us just can't resist picking up a ringing phone.
    Reduce the temptation by making a point to turn your phone and off and stow it away, before you put the keys in the ignition.
    In addition, if your phone is off and away it will make it more difficult to make calls.
  • If you must make a call, do it safely.
    Pull over to a safe area and make the call, or ask one of your passengers to make the call for you.
  • Don't text.
    Texting, emailing, and surfing the web are not only dangerous while you're driving, these activities are illegal in most states.
    There's no information you need that can't wait until you're in a safer situation to receive it.
  • Know where you're going.
    If you're heading into uncharted territories, review directions before you head out.
    Never read a map while driving; either have a passenger serve as co-pilot, or pull over to get your bearings.
    Also, never attempt to program your navigation system while driving.
    If you need to re-program on route, pull over to a safe area first.
  • Secure your kids and pets.
    If you are traveling with kids or pets, make sure they are properly restrained and not able to move freely about the vehicle before you set out.
    Kids should be in an age- and weight-appropriate safety seat or restraint system, and pets should also be in a secured area.
  • Focus on the driving.
    Don't eat, drink, fiddle with the radio, or do anything else that takes your eyes off the road.
  • Educate your friends.
    If you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver, be sure to educate them on the safety hazards of distracted driving.
    Ask your friends to respect and value you by focusing on the driving at hand, instead of engaging in distracted driving.
If you've recently been injured in an automobile accident and believe someone else may be at fault due to distracted driving, get the help you need from an experienced, knowledgeable attorney.
A good attorney will provide you with a free, confidential, and comprehensive consultation that will allow him or her to review your situation, determine whether you have a case, and outline steps to success.
If you've been injured in an automobile accident don't wait.
Seek the damages you deserve, while also reducing the chances that the distracted driver who injured you won't injure someone else.
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