Distracted driving kills more than 15 people each day and injures more than 1,200. These statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be enough to make every driver commit to focusing on the road. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that drivers pay attention to other than driving their cars and personal injury lawyers in Austin at Bertolino LLP know that it is hard for motorists to stick to a commitment not to drive distracted.
To help improve safety behind the wheel, it is essential that every motorist understand the major sources of distraction. Since teens and young drivers are especially likely to drive while distracted, it is also incumbent upon parents and educators to do everything possible to discourage this dangerous behavior. Drivers of all ages can also benefit from following some tips provided by AAA to concentrate better behind the wheel.
What is Distracting Drivers?
While cell phones get a lot of attention as a major source of distraction, they aren’t the only thing that takes driver focus from the road. A corporate communications coordinator at Allstate Insurance recently identified the top five distractions in Canada that interfere with drivers’ concentration. These include:
- Drinking or eating
- Adjusting to music
- Looking at passengers
- Playing music very loudly
- Reaching for an item in the back seat
Many of these behaviors also showed up on a list compiled by AAA Public Affairs. The AAA list, which was posted on Insurance Hotline, identified the top ten distractions as:
- Cell phone use
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting music
- Writing or reading
- Infants or babies
- Using the in-car controls
- External distractions
Young people are especially likely to engage in many of these behaviors identified as dangerous. For example, an Allstate Canada survey of Gen Xers revealed that 87 percent eat or drink behind the wheel; 71 percent adjust their mp3 players; 60 percent look at passengers who are talking; and 59 percent turn the music up to an excessive volume level. More than half of young respondents also said they reached for items in the back seat and talked on the phone without a hands-free device.
Staying Focused on the Road
Drivers need to make a commitment to avoid these and other behaviors that distract from paying careful attention. The AAA has provided a list of ten tips that motorists should keep in mind to stay focused and be safer. These include:
- Staying actively and fully focused, scanning the mirrors and not letting your attention be diverted.
- Storing loose items in a location where they won’t roll around or cause you to reach down to pick them up.
- Adjusting the music and vehicle systems before starting to drive.
- Getting fully dressed and 100 percent groomed while at home.
- Avoiding eating whenever possible and especially skipping messy foods while driving.
- Securing both kids and pets before starting the trip and pulling over if they need attention.
- Avoiding even hands-free use of cell phones except in emergencies.
- Asking passengers to help you stay focused.
- Pulling over when another activity demands attention and then powering down electronic devices before resuming the drive.
- Understanding that anything that takes your focus away from the road is a distraction that should be handled before or after the trip.
Every driver should strongly consider following these ten tips and parents should teach them to teen drivers to reduce the risk of underage distracted driving crashes.
If you or a loved one was hurt in an Austin car accident, personal injury lawyers in Austin can help. Contact Bertolino LLP today at 512-476-5757 or visit http://www.belolaw.com/ for a free case consultation