Driver distraction remains a problem in the United States, riddling countless streets and highways from coast to coast. In response to this issue, April continues to be recognized as Distracted Driving Awareness Month each year, and Americans are encouraged to take time during this month to support the cause by learning and practicing safe driving habits.
In observance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2021, here are 10 must-know facts about distracted driving and its dangers from our attorneys at Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C.:
- Annually, thousands of U.S. residents are killed in accidents involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- In 2018 alone, about 400,000 U.S. residents were injured in traffic collisions in which driver distraction was a factor, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Cell phone use — texting, emailing, calling, looking at a navigation app — is one of the most common types of driver distraction.
- Hands-free technology can be just as distracting as using a handheld device directly; in fact, many drivers still look down at their phones or dash when using hands-free or Bluetooth technology.
- Driving while distracted is far more common than many drivers think, with drivers of all ages being guilty of trying to multitask on the road.
- Cell phones are not the only type of driver distraction, only a leading one. Adjusting car mirrors, tuning the radio, “fixing” one’s appearance, eating, drinking coffee, and listening to loud music are also types of driver distraction.
- Rest stops can be used by anyone, not just truckers. Fatigue takes your mind off the road and, thus, is a form of driver distraction. If needed, do not be afraid to make use of rest stops or pull over to the side of the road to rest until you are alert enough to drive.
- Stress and mood may also cause a driver to be distracted. Like fatigue, they take your attention off the road. Refrain from driving while bogged down with life’s problems or take a few moments to breath and situate yourself in your vehicle so you can focus on the road.
- Even a couple of seconds spent distracted behind the wheel can be deadly. When you take your eyes off the road for just two seconds at 50 miles per hour, you have driven 100 feet without looking where you are going. This is particularly dangerous on winding or curvy roads, as the likelihood of drifting outside your lane is very high.
- Even just one person actively choosing not to drive while distracted can make a difference in lowering the rate of distracted driving, making our roads safer. If they speak up when they see other drivers (such as their friends) driving while distracted, the difference may be exponentially greater.
Distracted Driving Laws in Springfield, MO
Missouri has some of the least severe distracted driving laws in the nation, comprising only the following prohibitions:
- Drivers under 21 years of age are prohibited from texting and driving; and
- Commercial drivers are prohibited from all cell phone use while driving.
Therefore, distracted drivers are common on our state roads, which only endangers our families, friends, and neighbors. Per the Springfield Police, drivers multiply their chances of being involved in a serious accident by 4 when they talk on the phone and drive and by 23 when they text and drive. What’s worse, driver distraction was found to have occurred within three seconds before almost 80% of all collisions and 65% of all near collisions.
Often, to make our community safer, we do not need to do anything more drastic than refrain from using our cell phones and multitasking behind the wheel. Remember, even small acts can go a long way.
Fighting to Eliminate Distracted Driving
Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. is a Springfield-based personal injury practice with a team of attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases in which driver distraction led to injury. Through a lawsuit, it is possible to hold a distracted driver accountable for their actions and obtain the financial support you deserve. For more than 45 years, we have provided caring, comprehensive legal counsel to numerous Springfield residents. We are fully prepared to fight for your rights.
To book a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, contact Strong-Garner-Bauer P.C. online today. Our legal team can also be reached by phone at (417) 855-2022.