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Distracted Driving Month Focuses on Texting Risks, Other Dangers

texting-driving-teensApril is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a designation given by the U.S. Department of Transportation two years ago. The purpose of the designation is to focus on the dangers of distracted driving in an effort to curb accidents related to the practice.

As statistics continue to show distracted driving is a significant danger on U.S. roads today, awareness is the first step in reducing needless injuries and deaths.

What is distracted driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes off the road, your mind off your driving or your hands off the wheel. Activities that might lead to distraction include eating and drinking, grooming, using a navigation system, adjusting a music device or even talking to other passengers.

One of the most common distractions today is cellphone use, including talking on the phone, texting or reading texts. Texting is particularly dangerous, since it involves all three types of distraction listed by the CDC. Unfortunately, too many drivers are not heeding this danger, as thousands are killed every year in distracted driving crashes involving cellphone use.

A preventable tragedy

According to statistics from the official U.S. government website for distracted driving, 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 3014. Another 431,000 were injured in these accidents. While concerns about cellphone use while driving typically revolve around teens, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that while drivers in their 20’s are involved in around 23 percent of all fatal crashes, they made up 38 percent of drivers that were using cellphones at the time of the fatal accident.

Officials estimate that a driver’s eyes are off the road for about five seconds on average when sending a text. While that may not seem like much time, consider that five seconds is how long it will take a car to travel the length of a football field when going 55 miles per hour. If the driver is texting during that time, it is the equivalent of traveling that length of road blindfolded.

As a part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the National Safety Council encourages drivers to take their “Take Back My Drive” pledge.

When a driver takes the pledge, that driver is promising not to do the following:

  • Have any type of phone conversation while driving
  • Send or receive texts or emails
  • Use any type of social media
  • Input destinations into the GPS when vehicle is in motion
  • Take selfies or film videos

Drivers are also able to dedicate their pledge to a specific person, such as children or a spouse. They can also post their pledges on social media if they choose, to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving.

When you are a victim of distracted driving

Despite efforts to curb distracted driving, the National Occupant Protection Use Survey found that at any given moment in the U.S., 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. With so many drivers using devices at any given time, your odds of becoming a victim of one of these accidents also increases.

If you or someone you love is involved in a distracted driving accident in Los Angeles, legal help is essential to ensure your rights are protected. At Ellis Law, we help victims of car accidents collect the damages they need to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other non-economic losses.

To get a free evaluation of your case and answers to all your legal questions, contact our personal injury lawyers at 1-800-INJURED.