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. Many of us take vehicles for granted – they are part of our everyday lives, sitting in the driveway waiting for the next errand or adventure. Yet, they have the potential to be deadly. Or, rather, they do when a person climbs in and puts the wheels in motion. Still, drivers often combine operating these pieces of heavy machinery with texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, selecting music, programming directions, and various other attention-diverting behaviors.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Johnson Law firm wants to remind everyone about the importance of concentrating on the road when behind the wheel.
In 2014, almost 3,200 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. According to the 2014 Traffic Collision Facts Report by the Kentucky State Police, driver inattention was the number one human factor in car accidents, while driver distraction was number six. A distraction was one of the primary reasons for an accident in 6,514 collisions that year, 22 of which involved a fatality. Cell phone use was a contributing factor in 972 wrecks, 2 of which were fatal. Of the 1,053 collisions involving pedestrians, almost 5 percent were due to driver distraction. It should come as no surprise that smartphones are a major distraction. In fact, they are so engrossing that even pedestrians have trouble. For example, more than half (53 percent) of all adult cell phone owners have been on the giving or receiving end of a distracted walking encounter. Add a car to that scenario and the potential for serious injury goes up astronomically.
If you can’t avoid bumping into another pedestrian, how can you react in time to the child who dashes into the street?
One of the biggest concerns is the trend among young drivers to engage in risky behavior while driving even though they have heard the warnings. Since 2007, drivers age 16 to 24 have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. In fact, a study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance has noted that while alcohol-related teen vehicle fatalities have fallen, the overall death toll has not changed. One possible theory is that distracted driving wrecks caused by technology have balanced out the decline. If you are trying to put your life back together after a motor vehicle wreck caused by a distracted driver, or, if you have more questions about this topic, trust your case to the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling 606-437-4488 or filling out our online form.

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