Distracted driving is unquestionably one of the most dangerous things a motorist can do. As a recent USA Today article indicates, more than one out of every four motor vehicle accidents on U.S. roads occur because of drivers who use their phones to either talk or text. Most of these collisions (about 21 percent) involve drivers who are talking, while about five percent are caused by texters.
Texting and cell phone-based accidents are one of the top causes of car accidents in Connecticut. Distracted driving accident attorneys in Hartford can represent victims involved in collisions with drivers who are distracted. Those who cause accidents while focused on their phones instead of the road can be held legally liable. It is not worth taking the risk, and drivers should consider following tips from the National Safety Council (NSC) to avoid liability and potentially save their own lives or the lives of other motorists.
Campaign Targets Distracted Driving Dangers
To encourage drivers to avoid high-risk distracting behaviors, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched its first-ever national campaign. The campaign includes both ads and enforcement. Police nationwide will be cracking down on dangerous motorists and citing them for breaking texting bans or driving dangerously. Ads will also warn motorists “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”
The campaign is an important effort to combat the increasing dangers of texting. In 2010, only .9 percent of drivers texted or manipulated their handheld devices as they drove according to Market Watch. By 2011, this number was up to 1.3 percent. The number of Americans texting has increased since then, too. Young people between the ages of 19 and 25 now send an average of 110 texts daily and Americans on average text around 41 times per day. A texting driver is 23 times as likely to crash compared to one who is paying attention.
While the NHTSA campaign rightly focuses on the dangers of texting, it is also important for motorists to know that just using their phones could significantly increase the risk of collision. This is true even if they use hands-free devices, which have been shown to be no safer than handheld phones.
Market Watch reports that drivers who utilize a cell phone, even with a handheld device, will fail to see as much as 50 percent of the information in their environment. The NSC has an infographic illustrating the risks associated with hands-free use, which illustrates how the activity in the brain that processes moving images decreases by a third when you are listening to a phone call.
Safety experts are pushing the federal government for a ban on all cell phone use while driving including the use of hands-free phones. This seems unlikely to occur any time soon, but at least national campaigns against distracted driving are a step in the right direction because they bring more awareness to the risks.
Until the law changes, it is up to drivers to make the smart choice and just say no to cell phones as they drive.
Contact a Hartford distracted accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Calling 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation.