Addressing Distracted Driving Vital To Reducing Car Accident Deaths

Sep 6, 2019 by

Which Drivers Are Most Prone To Distracted Driving?

We talk a lot about drunk driving, but when it comes to dangerous behavior on our roads, distracted driving is at least as serious of an issue and a much more pervasive one. Indeed, while many think of millennials as the primary culprits, constantly fidgeting with their phones, research suggests that distracted driving is an equal opportunity crime. Millennials are slightly more prone to use technology while driving, with 86% admitting to using their phones while driving, compared to 72% of Gen Xers, but that’s hardly the only kind of distracted driving. Reducing inattention behind the wheel, then, will require a comprehensive evaluation of how we behave behind the wheel, as well as widespread cultural change.

The Road To Disaster

One major reason why distracted driving accidents are common – perhaps even more common than they used to be – is that, with more built-in vehicle safety measures, drivers feel like their cars will compensate if they take their eyes off the road, and all of our talk about self-driving cars could be making things worse. Drivers view today’s rudimentary lane keeping technology and cruise control as just steps away from complete automation, even though they’re really just basic driver supports. Approached with a little too much trust, technology that should be making our roads safer is actually doing the opposite.

Going Hands Free

In response to the prevalence of distracted driving, several states are attempting to control on the road behavior by banning drivers from even touching their phones while on the road. This doesn’t ban users from implementing voice technology, but it does bar drivers from dialing or otherwise manipulating devices, and so far, the laws seem to be beneficial.

According to a report from the NHTSA and reported on MinnPost.com, 12 of 15 states with such hands-free laws have seen a reduction in traffic fatalities. Some experts are skeptical, since even talking on the phone without holding or dialing it can be distracting, but being unable to physically hold and use their phone may make people less likely to use them in any way.

Detecting technology use after an accident can be tricky, depending on what the other driver was doing, but law enforcement has their ways of evaluating these situations. In order to get the best outcome, victims of a potentially negligent drivers should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. They can help victims assess the situation and collect damages.

Investing In Awareness

While addressing the specific behaviors that underly distracted driving may help reduce them, it’s not the only way to drive better behavior. To this end, AAA is focusing resources on its “School’s Open, Drive Carefully” campaign, emphasizing the potentially devastating outcomes of driving recklessly. Nearly 1 in 4 child pedestrian deaths occur when children are on their way home from school, so behaving dangerously in a school zone or really anywhere near children could put them at extreme risk. No one wants to be involved in a car accident, but the guilt involved in causing a child’s death is even more serious and could serve as a motivating factor for those who otherwise engage in questionable behaviors behind the wheel.

In 2017, distracted drivers caused over 3000 deaths – preventable deaths, to be more exact. Any driver checking a text message or fiddling with the radio is contributing to dangerous conditions that put everyone around them at risk. It’s an epidemic, and one that every driver has a responsibility to end.

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