According to the NHTSA, over 5,000 people were killed and over 440,000 were injured in vehicle accidents connected to distracted driving. That represents 16 percent of all fatal crashes and 20 percent of all accidents that caused injuries. If that isn’t already bad enough, The National Safety Council believes that the true percentage of vehicle crashes caused by texting and cell phone use alone, disregarding other distractions, is actually about 28%.
So what is distracted driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”
In our opinion, this includes adults and teenage drivers using a cell phone (or any phone while driving for that matter), texting, eating, drinking, smoking, interacting with passengers, grooming, reading, using maps and GPS, watching video, adjusting a radio or sound system using CDs or MP3s, adjusting temperature controls, checking vehicle diagnostics via buttons on your steering wheel or any other type of activity taking your attention away from driving your vehicle.
We invite you to watch this short 3 minute video and then look at the statistics below.
Distracted driving is a HUGE issue. Here are just some of the facts:
Talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident. To help put things into perspective, this is the same heightened risk that occurs when drinking and driving. If you add the additional element of texting into the equation the risk doubles yet again and is now eight times as high.
The 5 Second Rule
A standard text message, when either typed or read, distracts a driver for about five seconds. At normal highway speed, this equates to a distance of about 300 feet. Imagine driving down the freeway and not watching where you are going for the entire length of a football field. It’s crazy, reckless, and negligent. The consequences are deadly.
When it comes to commercial vehicle crashes, it was discovered that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times greater than driving without distraction (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Most people will agree that the operation of these large vehicles is already dangerous enough without adding the additional risk of texting while driving.
Despite These Statistics, Many People Still Drive While Distracted
In its survey, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that over 90 percent of drivers acknowledged the danger of distracted driving. These people agreed that it was “unacceptable” that driver’s send or read e-mail or text while driving. Despite this, 35 percent of these very same people admitted to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month. In a similar fashion, two-thirds of the survey respondents admitted to talking on a cell phone, even though 88 percent found it a threat to safety.
Why We’re Involved
Not only are we lawyers but we’re also the parents of one teenage driver with another two years away from getting his license. Over the past 28 years we’ve unfortunately been asked to help families whose lives have been forever harmed because of injuries and death caused by distracted drivers. We know this is a big problem but it’s also an avoidable one.
After The Casey Feldman Foundation was brought to our attention we wanted to help. At the young age of just 21, Casey was tragically struck and killed by a distracted driver. The Foundation was established in her memory and its purpose is to educate the consumer on the risk and impact of distracted driving.
How to Get Involved or More Information
If you’d like more information about distracted driving or, would like us to share a very professional presentation at your school or organization about distracted driving, please contact us. If you’d like to get involved or learn more about The Casey Feldman Foundation, please visit http://EndDD.org