April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
- Home / Auto Accidents /
- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April 4, 2017
Distracted driving has become an all too common habit among U.S. drivers.
As the number of auto-related fatalities increased to the highest reported number in nearly a decade, traffic safety advocates are raising concerns over the public’s dangerous driving habits, specifically distracted driving.
To address this issue, U.S. traffic safety organizations and law enforcement agencies have declared April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a national campaign intended to educate drivers and prevent further devastation caused by distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when your focus is diverted away from driving and redirected to another activity.
There are three classifications of distraction that can occur while driving: cognitive, manual and visual.
Driving requires your full attention. A driver’s response to sudden hazards, such as weather conditions, objects in the road or the actions of other drivers, is a critical factor that prevents car accidents.
Cognitive distractions cause your mind to divert its focus away from the road. These kinds of distractions include:
- Talking to other passengers
- Thinking about issues that are either upsetting or cause deep contemplation
- Road rage
- Day dreaming
- Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
One of the leading elements of cognitive distractions that causes drivers to crash is multitasking.
When you attempt to multitask between two high-attention activities like driving and using a cellphone, you are unable to fully focus on either action.
Your brain begins to process information at a slower rate, which seriously affects your response and reaction time, increasing the risk of crashing.
Cognitive distractions can be avoided by staying completely focused on driving and the road ahead. You should never attempt to multitask while driving, this includes answering any phone calls you receive.
Manual distractions are those that cause you to move your hands away from the steering wheel.
This can include a simple task such as reaching for a drink in a cup holder. It can also be caused by other actions that more fully engulf your attention, like using one hand to search for a lost object under your seat.
Other forms of manual distractions include:
- Adjusting a child’s seatbelt
- Searching for objects while driving
- Turning knobs in your car
- Holding a cellphone while driving
Manual distractions can be prevented by planning ahead and making adjustments in your vehicle before driving.
You should also keep your cellphone out of reach and refrain from reaching for any far away objects while driving.
Visual distractions occur when your eyes leave the road and become focused on another object.
Common forms of visual distraction include:
- Looking for items on the floor of your car
- Checking and adjusting an entertainment or navigation system
- Looking at objects or scenery along the road instead of focusing on the road itself
- Adjusting temperature controls
- Applying makeup
- Responding/typing a text message or dialing a number on your phone
Drivers often become visually distracted without fully realizing their actions. To avoid visual distractions, you should keep your eyes on the road and pull over if you need to address anything other than driving.
Your phone should also be off while you are driving to avoid any temptation to check for messages or missed calls.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has had a severe impact on U.S. roadways and the security people feel when sharing the road with other drivers.
A recent survey by the National Safety Council (NSC) revealed that while 83 percent of drivers are concerned with current roadway safety, many engage frequently in high-risk behaviors like distracted driving.
Traffic safety advocacy groups believe that U.S. drivers’ growing complacency toward high-risk driving behaviors has led to increased distracted driving accidents each year.
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in auto collisions involving a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The agency estimates that more than eight people are killed by distracted drivers every day in the U.S.
A distracted driving study conducted at the University of Utah found that a driver is distracted even after the distracting action has ended. This “period of latency” can last for 15 to 27 seconds depending on the intensity of the activity and the level of the driver’s engagement.
Cellphones Are One of the Leading Causes of Distracted Driving
Cellphones are considered one of the leading causes of distracted driving. Using a cellphone while driving combines all three classifications of distracted driving and significantly increases the risk of an accident.
During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using their cellphones or electronic devices while driving, according to the NHTSA.
When drivers check a text message or email, they spend an average of five seconds looking at the device. If you are traveling at 55 mph, five seconds would be the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field without looking at the road.
A 2017 study conducted by Cambridge Mobile Telematics found that 52 percent of traffic accidents are caused by drivers distracted by their cellphones. The study’s key findings include:
- On drives that involved a crash, the average duration of distraction was 135 seconds.
- Phone distraction lasted for two minutes or more on 20 percent of drives when the driver was distracted and often occurred at high speeds.
- The worst 10 percent of distracted drivers are 2.3 times more likely to be in a crash than most drivers and 5.8 percent more likely than the best 10 percent of distracted drivers.
Another study that measured the impairment of distracted drivers found those who talk on hand-held cellphones display the same level of awareness and impairment as drunk drivers.
Drivers that talked on a cellphone were four times more likely to crash, while those texting and driving were eight times more likely to be involved in an accident than focused drivers.
Get Involved to Prevent Distracted Driving
During Distracted Driving Awareness Month, you can help spread awareness of the dangerous effects distracted driving has on U.S. roadways.
Although Arizona does not have any laws preventing distracted driving or using a cellphone while operating a vehicle, you can take the NSC’s pledge against distracted driving.
The NSC also has free downloadable material you can use to inform you community of the dangers of driving distracted.
Traffic safety organizations are encouraging the public to be their own messengers and spread awareness throughout their community.
Parents should lead by example for their children and never engage in a distracting behavior in front of their children.
Teens can also be messengers among their peers to speak up when a friend is driving while distracted. If you are in a vehicle and the driver is distracted and driving, refuse to ride with the individual until he or she is fully focused on the road.
Help for Victims of Distracted Driving
Those who were injured or lost a loved one in an accident involving a distracted driver may have legal options. Phillips Law Group’s Tempe car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping individuals who have suffered because of another’s negligence.
If you are attempting to file a claim, we can discuss the terms of your collision during a free consultation to determine if you can maximize your compensation. All of our work is provided at no cost to you. We only charge if we recover damages for your claim.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation formif you have been in a car accident.
Free Case Evaluation
Your message has been sent
Thank you for your message, we will get back to you soon.
Thank you Phillips Law Group for all the support and back to school assistance we appreciate it.
Liz was great
I was recently served court documents that I was being sued from an accident that happened years ago. For someone who has never been through something like this and not familiar with the court lingo or where to even begin, it was very frustrating and stressful. I reached out to a family member who knew Tracy Laskos and the great reputation of Phillips Law Group and within the hours of the initial call for help, I had a direct number to Lead Attorney Nassar. Nassar heard my case and almost instantly put me at ease by explaining the process and how easy it was to handle. Nassar spoke to me like he was a friend, not like I was a client. I am so grateful to Tracy, Nasar and of course my cousin Stephanie for helping out and giving me the direction that I needed to get through this situation. I plan on referring my friends, family and patients that are in need of a personal injury Attorney to Phillips Law Group. Thank you!!
If you are in need of legal support for a motor vehicle collision of any kind, I highly recommend going to Phillips Law Group Injury Lawyers. Sean Davis has exemplary knowledge and experience in this field, compassion for his clients, and excellent judgment and communication skills.
Jasmine Delgado is an amazing paralegal. She was patient, kind and extremely knowledgeable. Highly recommend Phillips law group
They knew exactly how to explain the case to me in a way that I would understand it. They gave me hope that my life wasn’t over.
Phillips Law Group provides a collaborative environment in which both attorneys and staff work together to achieve the best outcome for clients. As an attorney here at PLG, I’m lucky to be surrounded by seasoned attorneys and knowledgeable staff that share my enthusiasm for helping accident victims. The team here at PLG treats clients with respect and empathy while fighting hard to get the results they deserve.
Jon Jamieson was amazing to work with . He came through with all of his promises.
Working at Phillips Law Group has been great the 1st few years in I noticed how well organized and run this Firm was from Intake to Settlement the Client has the expertise of a staff member uniquely qualified for the particular stage of each Clients claim and all other Law firms try to emulate what we do here but none quite get it right because they lack one major component “Compassion”. We are a FAMILY not just a group of people/employees. We care deeply about each other and our clients’ we are considerate, compassionate and make sure that all our Clients’ needs are met from beginning to end. That’s because we treat our clients just like we treat each other. Nothing like walking through the office and saying Hello to fellow employees who always seem to be smiling. 16yrs in and it only seems to be getting better.
Phillips Law Group has a proven track record of success. Juan Roque, in particular, is integral to that. He works with integrity, compassion, and an undefeated optimism that makes him a valuable asset.