April is National Distracted Driving Month. If any public safety issue deserves this spotlight, it’s distracted driving, which is responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States. And it’s a national scourge that’s on the rise.
According to the most current federal government statistics, 3,477 people were killed in fatal crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. That’s an 8 percent increase over the year prior. All totaled, driver distraction was involved in 10 percent of the nation’s fatal crashes in 2015.
Average Driver Distraction Lasts More than Two Minutes
A new survey by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a company that works with insurance companies and government agencies on driving safety, reveals that the average driver distraction resulting in a crash lasted over two minutes. Almost a third of the distracted drivers who crashed were going at least 56 mph.
The same survey also showed that distracted drivers were involved in more than half of all car trips that ended in an accident and that drivers using smartphones are three times more likely to crash.
Distracted Drivers Pose Dangers to Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists are at a heightened danger from distracted drivers, given that they are much less protected than car and truck drivers.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recently noted the perils of intersections where there is no stop sign or traffic signal controlling the motorcycle rider’s direction. That is, where roads meet and oncoming traffic must stop but motorcyclists do not. These intersections, combined with inattentive drivers, represent a great risk for motorcycle accidents. A texting driver can wrongly and carelessly turn into an oncoming motorcycle rider, for example, leaving little if any time for the motorcyclist to react.
Cell phone use remains the top driver distraction. However, there are numerous other dangerous behaviors that take drivers’ attention away from the road ahead. They include adjusting the car’s radio or climate controls, eating or drinking, and speaking with others in the vehicle.
If you were seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a car or truck crash and have reason to believe it was caused by a distracted driver, consult a motor vehicle accident attorney, who will thoroughly investigate and advocate for your legal rights.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. in Blog April 7, 2017