As a society, we have become addicted to our smartphones and the convenience and entertainment they provide us with. This addiction doesn't end when drivers get behind the wheel, creating a new crisis of distracted driving on our roads. What began as a problem with drivers talking on their phones has turned into texting and driving, and more recently browsing social media while driving, each behavior more distracting than the last. In fact, the FCC estimates that at any given moment, 660,000 Americans are using their cell phones while driving, exponentially increasing their risk of being involved in a collision, many of which result in injury or death.1
What Is Distracted Driving?
In short, distracted driving is participating in any activity that removes your attention from the road. While the use of cell phones is certainly the most widespread contributor to distracted driving, several other behaviors are also responsible for the problem. Actions such as changing the radio station, checking a navigation system, eating, and conversing with passengers all seem harmless, but they can take a driver's attention away from the road for just a second--which is all it takes for a collision to occur.
How Can We Avoid Distracted Driving?
In order to combat the growing crisis of distracted driving, state and local government across the country have enacted laws intended to reduce the prevalence of distracting behavior. A "hands free" ordinance just went into effect in Pima County on June 1st, making it illegal to even touch a cell phone while driving.2 Though state governments across the nation have begun implementing strict distracted driving laws, these are not always the easiest laws to enforce, as law enforcement won't always be there to spot texting drivers. It will take a conscious, organized effort to convince drivers to put down their phones and engage in responsible driving habits.
Drivers can prevent distracted driving in their own vehicles by simply making distractions unavailable to them. Keep phones in your pocket, bag or purse to remove the greatest distraction in your vehicle right off the bat. If you need navigation help, enter your destination into the GPS before you start driving and set the system to vocalize directions so there is never a need to remove your eyes from the road. Refrain from constantly changing the radio station, or consider creating your own playlist to entirely remove the need to change the radio.
Small changes like these can help reduce your risk of causing a collision, making the road safer for you and those around you.
Stay Protected on the Road
Unfortunately, no matter how responsible you are behind the wheel, you have no control over other drivers, who may engage in behaviors that put you and your passengers in danger. Each day across the country approximately 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured in motor vehicle collisions involving a distracted driver.3 If you are involved in a collision with a distracted driver, protect yourself and hold them accountable for their actions by seeking out the right lawyers. The auto accident experts at Showard Law Firm have years of experience helping Tucson residents get the compensation they deserve after a collision with a negligent driver. To schedule your consultation, contact us online at www.showardlaw.com or call 520-622-3344.