All of our lives are busy; from ferrying kids from sport to sport or ensuring the work you do gets done, most people have to juggle a few balls in the air to keep their daily lives functioning as they should. Unfortunately, many people choose the car as time to catch up on some of the things that don’t have time to handle before they get behind the wheel. From applying make-up to answering emails, distracted driving is common, dangerous, and a leading cause of car accidents across the nation.
Unfortunately, most people don’t see these small activities as dangerous or as a distraction, but a person doesn’t have to be livestreaming Facebook to be distracted. A distraction is anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. In Pennsylvania, distracted driving citations are on the rise, and the biggest distraction likely comes as no surprise: cell phone use.
Despite a ban on driving while texting in PA, police gave over 1,000 citations to drivers in 2014 for texting and driving. Many of these went to teens who are not fully experienced drivers.
Common Causes of Distracted Driving
Texting and driving isn’t the only distraction, however. There are three main categories of driving distraction:
- Visual (looking away from the road)
- Manual (removing hands from the wheel)
- Cognitive (thinking about something other than driving)
Common Distractions for Drivers
- Calling/talking on a cell phone
- Engaging in social media apps on a phone
- Grooming – hair/make-up/flossing
- Using a navigation system
- Adjusting the radio
- Talking to passengers (often children in backseat)
This list isn’t exhaustive – there are many distractions in our busy lives that can cause our eyes to veer from the road. It is a major problem, however. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 fatal crashes in the U.S. involved distracted driving. That number is from 2011 (the most recent statistic). Considering the rise in cell phone usage, it is likely much higher today.
Legislatures hoped that by passing the Pennsylvania Anti-Texting Law, the number of accidents in PA would decrease. However, it is a constant battle to keep people from engaging with their devices while driving. According to the Center for Disease Control, accidents and crashes involving distracted drivers kill at least eight people a day.
Distracted Driving by the Numbers
It may be hard to imagine just how deadly distracted driving can be. Consider this: If drivers take their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds while driving 55 mph, they’ve driven the length of a football field. Coincidentally, 4.6 seconds is the average time it takes to read a text. Most people don’t realize the danger they are putting themselves and others in when they aren’t fully engaged while driving.
People imagine they are simply glancing at their phones, taking a quick look in their bag or just turning away for a second, without realizing just how long their eyes are not on the road. Many organizations have created campaigns to help reduce the number of people distracted by their cell phones, so our perspective on what is okay to do while driving will hopefully change.
Injury From a Distracted Driver
With more distracted drivers on the road, chances are high that people will be involved in an accident with someone who has taken his or her eyes off the road. If you find yourself in this situation, seek medical attention for yourself or others (if necessary), take photographs of the incident, and report it to the police.
Contact an experienced distracted driving attorney at Anapol Weiss to handle your case. Our diligent lawyers will negotiate with insurance and compile evidence to fight for fair compensation on your behalf. Call our office to set up your free consultation.