How Dangerous is Distracted Driving?

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With jam-packed schedules, stressful jobs, and hectic lifestyles, many people use their vehicles as an office, dining room, and family room to get everything accomplished.  Many people make phone calls, send text messages, write e-mails, watch videos, apply makeup, eat meals, drink coffee and other beverages, travel with cats and dogs, and entertain their children every day while shuttling back and forth between work, home, school, and daycare.  It’s easy to see that multitasking drivers may lose focus on the road while driving.  Drivers may become distracted by eating, drinking, talking and texting on cell phones, changing radio stations and CDs, listening to loud music, talking to passengers, applying makeup, reading, using navigation and GPS systems, and tending to children and pets that may move about the vehicle.  Distracted driving causes thousands of devastating car accidents every year, and is considered to be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Distracted driving is an epidemic in today’s society, and many government agencies, task forces, and driver safety advocates have been pushing for laws and regulations to cut down on driver distraction.

The Statistics

A person driving while using a cell phone is four times as likely to be involved in an accident in which he seriously injures himself or someone else, and 18% of all fatal distracted-driving car accidents were linked to cell phone use.  Teens and young adults under 20 are the highest risk group, leading to a large proportion of distracted-driving fatalities.  Many states have already implemented laws banning hand-held cell phones, and requiring headsets, or other hands-free systems.  Studies have shown that texting while driving seriously affects a driver’s reaction time, causes drivers to leave their lanes, and miss traffic signs and signals.  Drivers typically take their eyes off the road for around five seconds to read or send a text message, resulting in thousands of accidents, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful deaths. However, only a few states have banned texting while driving.

“18% of all fatal distracted-driving car accidents were linked to cell phone use”

Not Just Cell Phones

While many people are aware that using cell phones can be distracting and dangerous, not as many realize that driving with unrestrained pets is just as hazardous.  Pets may climb up on seats and block windows, get on your lap and impede your view, or climb into the driving well, potentially under the pedals.  Keeping your pet restrained in a harness or crate will protect you from distractions, but also protect the pet in the event of a collision.  Police are well aware of this issue and, in some states, write tickets.  You might remember the fiasco that ensued last year when New Jersey tried to enact and enforce an animal restraint law.  The bottom line is that police are actively on the lookout for all forms of distracted driving.  They can and do write traffic tickets.

Drunk drivers are held accountable when their recklessness causes catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths to innocent victims, and the experienced Philadelphia car accident attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm firmly believe distracted drivers and people that text while driving should be held accountable when their actions cause devastating consequences.  For over three decades, we have advocated for stricter laws regarding distracted driving.  Driver safety is one of our top priorities.  Our attorneys know all too well how quickly your life can change due to someone else’s negligence, and we understand the long-term physical and financial burdens car accident victims will face.  We have won hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of catastrophically injured and wrongfully killed victims and their families, to compensate them for injuries, pain, suffering, rehabilitation, medical expenses, and lost wages.

If you or a loved one has been catastrophically injured or wrongfully killed due to a distracted driver, contact one of our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation – (215) 246-9000.

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