The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving occurs when a driver takes his or her attention away from the task of driving. Although most people are familiar with texting while driving, there are many different forms of distracted driving.

Types of Distractions

Visual- Visual distractions occur when a driver takes his or her eyes away from the roadway.
Manual- Manual distractions occur when drivers take their hands of the wheel.
Cognitive- Cognitive distractions happen when a driver takes his or her mind off of the task of driving.

Some behaviors can fall into more than one of the distraction categories too. Texting can be a visual, cognitive and manual distraction. Eating can be a manual and visual distraction. It’s also important to understand that daydreaming while driving is a cognitive distraction.

Just the Facts

• In 2010, 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.
• 30 to 39-year-olds have the highest proportion of cell phone involvement where fatal crashes are concerned.
• In one survey, 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 talked on their cell phone while driving in the past 30 days.
• 31 percent of drivers in that age group also reported sending or reading text messages or email messages.
• In fatal crashes, 16 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 were distracted.
• Almost half of all high school students aged 16 years or older email or text while driving.

Teen Drivers

Since teen drivers are at a particularly high risk for distracted driving, parents need to ensure their children are putting the cell phones down before getting behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that teens take “The Pledge.” Talking about the pledge is a great way to open up a dialogue with teens about the dangers of distracted drives. Taking the pledge also helps to keep teen drivers accountable for their actions behind the wheel. Teens who take the pledge are less likely to text while driving. Parents can also take the pledge to set a good example for their young drivers.

Massachusetts Cell Phone Laws

• Ban on handheld and hands-free cell phone use for bus drivers • Ban on handheld and hands-free cell phone used for novice drivers • Ban on texting for all drivers

Focus on Driving!

Drivers need to focus on the road. Put down the cell phones, and pay attention to the task of driving. When drivers take their attention away from the road, they’re putting everybody’s lives at risk. It only takes a moment for a child to dart into the roadway or another driver to make an unpredictable move. If you take your attention away from the road, you’re not going to be able to react in time.

What to Do After a Wreck

In some cases, it’s pretty obvious that a driver was distracted. Distraction behind the wheel may not be immediately apparent though. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Boston can stay on top of official investigations. It’s often possible to find out after a crash if a driver was on a cell phone, texting or sending emails. Distracted drivers put everybody on the road at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact the experienced team at Altman & Altman, LLP for a free case consultation today.

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