As technology becomes increasingly standard in the average vehicle, the National Safety Council is working to make Americans aware that distracted driving was a major contributor to the more than 40,000 fatalities on U.S. roadways in 2017. That is why the month of April is devoted to its Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign.
Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road qualifies as a distraction. In addition to using a cell phone, distractions include adjusting the onboard navigation or entertainment system, talking to passengers or children in the backseat, eating and drinking, and putting on makeup. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a driver traveling in a car at 55 mph covers the length of an entire football field in the 4.5 seconds that it takes to read or send the average text.
Employers and drivers can participate in Distracted Driving Awareness month in many different ways. The NSC has a Safe Driving Toolkit available free for employers who want to educate their workforce about the dangers of driving while distracted, drowsy, or under the influence. The number one cause of workplace fatalities is motor vehicle crashes and many accidents happen on the way to and from work.
Individuals can do their part this April by pledging to drive cell free for the entire month. The pledge is available at the NSC website and lists the myriad of technology distractions to be avoided while driving. The list includes phone conversations – even those via Bluetooth, voice-to-text features, email, selfies, videos, social media, and navigation systems. The pledge ends with an opportunity to dedicate the promise not to drive while distracted to a loved one. Those who make the pledge can post it to social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to encourage others to do the same.
The statistics speak for themselves. Someone is injured in a car crash every 7 seconds and someone dies in a car crash every 15 minutes. At least a quarter of these crashes involve some form of distraction and experts contend the percentage is likely much higher.
Distracted driving accidents are completely preventable. The NHTSA estimates that during daylight hours, approximately 481,000 people are driving while using cellphones creating incredible potential for deadly accidents.
More and more states are passing laws making it illegal for new drivers to use a cell phone and requiring that more experienced drivers use a hands-free device. Texting while driving is also forbidden in many states and often these laws are so-called “primary enforcement laws” meaning the officer can pull a driver over if they are observed violating cell phone laws. Besides incurring hefty fines, a driver involved in an accident caused by distracted driving is more likely to be held liable for the damages caused by the accident.
With over 250 years of combined experience, the skilled team at Williams Cedar can help if you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver or other act of negligence. Call 856-470-9777 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced South Jersey car accident lawyer or call 215-557-0099 to speak with a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia. You can also contact us online. From our offices in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia we advocate for clients throughout South Jersey and Pennsylvania.