What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving can mean any kind of multitasking that impairs our ability to drive safely, but it usually refers to technological distractions like cell phones. Webster’s Dictionary explained why they made distracted driving their word of the year for 2009.
A sign of the times surely, distracted driving is another reflection – and consequence – of our ongoing romance with all things digital and mobile and the enhanced capabilities they provide. While it now may be easier and quicker to feed our multitasking habits, it is not always safe, and many jurisdictions are formalizing that position by making it a crime to text or otherwise use a cell phone while driving.
Texting linked to Tragedy
On August 5, 2010, a distracted driver killed two and injured thirty-eight people in Missouri. Cell phone records indicate that the driver had received 11 texts in the 11 minutes, immediately before the crash.
NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman called it a “big red flag for all drivers.”
A Disturbing Trend
In recent years more and more of these technology-related accidents have been investigated by the board. A texting train engineer caused 25 deaths in California. A tugboat pilot killed two tourists while using a cell phone and laptop. A Northwest Airlines flight missed its destination by more than 100 miles because both pilots were on their laptops.
How Common is Distracted Driving?
The negligence of these drivers seems staggering, but distracted driving is incredibly common. In a recent poll by State Farm Insurance, 19% of drivers admitted to actually surfing the internet while driving. And half of all drivers between 21 and 24 admit to thumbing through messages or emailing from the driver’s seat. The survey found that drivers think it’s dangerous when others do it, but not when we do it ourselves.
Preventing Distracted Driving
On June 12, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to upgrade enforcement of distracted driving laws and to add a point against the licenses of offenders. This type of legislation has gained momentum since an Upstate crash that killed 5 teens was linked to texting and driving. But are we doing enough?
Car Accident Toolkit App
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Visit these additional sites for more information about the dangers of distracted driving:
If you or your family has been injured by a distracted driver, contact us for a free appraisal.