Before Thanksgiving this year, the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data which showed the number of traffic accident deaths in the U.S. jumped 8.1 percent during the first two quarters of 2015. Not only does this data reverse the miniscule decline in automobile crash deaths in 2014, it also suggests we, as a nation, are engaging in dangerous driving habits, some of which are downright dumb, including talking and texting on our cell phones while driving, as well as using other connected, technological devices. In 2014, distracted driving accounted for at least 10 percent of all fatal crashes, although many believe that number is much higher.
The move to connectivity while behind the wheel has only increased during 2015; the head of the NHTSA asserts the increase in the use of smart phones and other devices among those who are driving plays a definite role in the increasing number of car collisions and resulting deaths. Although the majority of the states have passed laws which prohibit the use of cell phones while driving, there really are no effective laws which truly prohibit the use of hand-held devices while driving. Automakers have been pitching accident-free cars which come loaded with driver assistance systems. These design of these systems may eventually take the human driver out of the equation entirely. Since totally taking connectivity away from drivers appears to be nearly impossible, many wonder what the ke4y to reducing accidents caused by technology really is.
Distracted driving as a whole has increased at an alarming rate over the past decade. In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions involving a distracted driver. 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle collisions, many of those caused by distracted drivers. Distracted driving crosses all ages, although drivers in their 20’s make up about 27 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes. At any given moment, across the United States, some 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or another type of electronic device while driving. Those who engage in a visual-manual task (reaching for a phone, dialing, texting, etc.) while driving increase their risk of being involved in a car collision by three times.
While many have heard this statistic, it apparently has failed to sink in, judging by the number of drivers who continue to use cell phones behind the wheel: five seconds is the average time a driver’s eyes are away from the road while they are reading or sending a text. Five seconds may not sound like much, but if you are traveling at 55 mph, five seconds is equal to driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded. Hands-free cell phone use is only marginally safer than handheld use.
While teens may be the worst offenders at texting while driving (a quarter of all teens respond to a text message one or more times every time they get behind the wheel) they may have learned these behaviors from watching their parents. At least ten percent of all parents admitted to having extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. Texting causes more than a million and a half accidents each year, along with at least 330,000 injuries. At least 11 teenage driver deaths each day are attributed to texting while driving.
Other forms of technology used by drivers, include the use of a navigation system, adjusting the radio, changing CDs or fiddling with an MP3 player. While videos are mostly watched by the children in the back seat, even listening to the movie can be a serious distraction for the driver. Most connectivity devices used while in an automobile require visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver. The only way to end distracted driving is to fully impress on all American drivers the level of danger posed by using devices and engaging in other distractions behind the wheel. In short, connectivity is killing us, and changes must be made.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident with a distracted driver, we can help. Our Denver car accident attorneys can review all of your legal options with you and help you choose the path that is right for you and your family. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
Fuicelli & Lee, PC Settles Car Accident for $462,500.00
The high settlement was no accident. I watched how hard Keith worked to get us to that point. Because of Keith’s hard work, I am now in a position to concentrate on fixing my pain with continued treatment.
Fuicelli & Lee, PC Negotiates Policy Limit Settlement of $250,000
Mr. Fuicelli is very accessible which is extremely important just in case you have a question or important information to pass along to him. He stays on top of your case with complete dedication and always updates you with information pertinent to your case.