Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving has become a serious problem in the United States. With smart cell phones in nearly every car, people are frequently texting and dialing while driving. Simply stated, this means they are not paying attention to driving. This often leads to tragic results.
For example, in September 2008, a Los Angeles Metrolink passenger train conductor ran past a red light signal and then slammed into a freight train that had been cleared to use the track. The NTSB blamed the Metrolink train's engineer for the collision, concluding that he was distracted by text messages he was sending while on duty. The crash injured more than 130 people and killed 24. In May 2010, a North Carolina teen was retrieving a text message when she crossed the centerline of a road at 52 miles an hour. A tenth grader died in the crash. Hidden cameras installed New York's MTA caught 178 bus drivers texting while driving in 2010. Clearly, this is a serious problem.
Statistics show how bad the problem really is. In 2008, almost 20 percent of all crashes involved some type of distraction, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than 500,000 were injured. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. A study by the University of Utah revealed that using a cell phone while driving delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
Solving this problem is far from easy. Programs like Oprah's "No Phone Zone" are important, but for many Americans it is almost impossible to live without a cell phone in the car. Some simple steps can help reduce the risk of injury to you and others:
- Never, ever, text or dial your phone while you are moving. Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
- Use a hands free device (like a Bluetooth) when talking on the phone.
- Program your phone's speed dials or use voice dial to make calls. Never use the keyboard while your car is moving.
- Hide your phone or place it somewhere you cannot reach it while you are driving.
- If you have to text or dial, pull over BEFORE you do it.
For more important advice and information about distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov or contact us at Dixon Law Office. We are here to help.