From March 28 through 30, 2014, Ohio police joined authorities in five other states in a crackdown on distracted drivers to recognize April as national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The safety campaign, called "Stay Alive on I-75," was an effort to make enforcement of distracted driving laws consistent across state lines and increase the safety of all travelers. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a good time to review the extent of the problem of distracted driving and how to prevent distracted driving accidents.
Dangers of distracted driving
Safety officials have warned of the dangers of distracted driving for several years, and the statistics about distracted driving accidents support their warnings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 3,328 people died and 421,000 people suffered injuries in auto accidents caused by distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a widespread phenomenon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that half of teen drivers talk on the phone, send text messages or email people while driving. According to the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, about 25 percent of teen drivers answer at least one text message each time they drive. The survey also showed that 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents have multi-text conversations while driving.
Tips for reducing distracted driving
To acknowledge Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released tips for cutting down the amount of distracted driving on U.S. roads, including:
- Focusing all attention on the road, scanning constantly for other vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians
- Storing loose possessions securely prior to departing so that they do not roll around in the vehicle
- Finishing personal grooming before leaving
- Making all adjustments to the vehicle before moving the vehicle, such as setting g.p.s. coordinates, adjusting mirrors and setting the radio station
- Avoiding eating and drinking while driving
- Turning off cellphones and storing them while driving
Dealing with a distracted driving accident
Despite the known dangers of distracted driving, not all drivers are willing to take the safety precautions to prevent auto accidents. Those who are injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers need the assistance of a seasoned auto accident lawyer to help them obtain the compensation they are owed for medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other expenses related to the accident. If you have been involved in a distracted driving auto accident, talk to a skilled motor vehicle accident attorney who can help you obtain just compensation.