Staying Focused on the Road: April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Like sword-swallowing and bomb defusing, driving is really one of those activities that go best when it has your complete attention. Unfortunately, we don’t always give driving our full attention, and when people drive while distracted and perform any activity that takes their attention off the act of driving, the chances of getting into an accident increase substantially and can lead to serious injuries and even death.

Unfortunately, distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In an effort to recognize the dangers of and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving, April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council (NSC) (

The Johnson Law Firm wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of concentrating on the road when behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,522 lives in 2021, and any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. Texting is the most alarming distraction, as sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Types of Distracted Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified three kinds of distracted driving. They are:

  • Visual distractions that cause you to take your eyes away from the road. Examples are using a GPS, looking at an accident scene, and checking out the views.
  • Manual distractions that cause you to take your hand off the wheel. These are behaviors such as texting or using your phone, eating and drinking, or changing the radio station.
  • Cognitive distractions that take your mind off of driving. This includes talking to another passenger or daydreaming.

Texting is particularly distracting because all three of the modes of distraction come into play.

Teenage Distracted Driving

The CDC reports the distracted driving situation is particularly dire for teen drivers. As a result, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens; about 2,800 teens in the United States aged 13–19 were killed and about 227,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. Motor vehicle crash deaths among teens 13–19 years of age resulted in about $40.7 billion in medical costs and cost estimates for lives lost in 2020.

Consequences of Distracted Driving

Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is required to drive responsibly and practice safe driving habits. When drivers devote their attention to anything other than the road, they can be held legally responsible for any injuries they cause and may be sued in court.

Kentucky’s “reckless driving” law requires all motorists to drive “in a careful manner, with regard for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway.” The statute also prohibits purposefully driving “in such a manner as to injure the highway.” (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189.290.)

Kentucky’s distracted driving law states that drivers ARE NOT allowed to text, read, and send messages when operating a vehicle in motion. Drivers 18 and above are allowed to use navigation apps, input phone numbers for calling, and select a contact while driving, but drivers below 18 may not use devices while driving and must stop and pull over to a safe area to do so.

Motorists convicted of reckless driving in Kentucky face $20 to $100 in fines and add four points to their license. For a third reckless driving conviction within a 12-month period, the motorist’s license will be revoked for six months. A texting ticket will cost the driver a $25 fine for a first violation, a $50 fine for second or subsequent violations, and it will add three points to the motorist’s driving record.

Compensation for Distracted Driving Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died in an accident that was due to the fault of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through insurance or a lawsuit. In Kentucky, compensation may cover your:

Economic damages — for calculable monetary losses, such as:

  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of potential future earnings
  • Property damaged in the accident

Non-economic damages — for losses that do not have a specific dollar value but negatively impact your life, such as:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium, companionship, and enjoyment of life
  • Disability
  • Wrongful death

Kentucky personal injury law is complicated, and insurance companies and their lawyers will often attempt to deny claims, pay out less than they are worth, or even attempt to prove that their clients were not distracted and the accident was your fault. Fortunately, you do not have to deal with this alone. The Georgetown personal injury lawyers at the Johnson Law Firm are prepared to take the burden off you and handle all legal hurdles involved.

We provide a free consultation to help you understand your rights and determine the best approach to winning the settlement you deserve. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no costs to you unless we win your case, so call us today.

Attorney Billy Johnson

William “Billy” Johnson grew up in the Dorton area of Pike County, Kentucky, and early on decided to stay in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Like many others in Eastern Kentucky, Billy’s dad worked as a coal miner, a hard job but one that taught his son how to meet challenges head on and persevere. Attorney Billy Johnson has years of experience helping injured clients with claims such as car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, wrongful deaths, work injuries, and more. [ Attorney Bio ]

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