Distractions can be deadly behind the wheel


Everyone has heard of the issue of "distracted driving," where vehicle drivers are too busy texting, talking on the phone, checking email, eating, drinking, grooming, updating social networks, checking directions on a GPS or map, or changing the music selection to pay attention to the road. Doing any of these activities while behind the wheel can easily lead to an injury-causing car accident.


Even though we all know that it is hazardous, distracted driving - particularly texting while driving - is still prevalent throughout the country. In fact, well over 1,500,000 motor vehicle accidents annually are directly linked to texting behind the wheel, causing more than 3,300 deaths.


Gallant efforts have failed to stop distracted driving

The epidemic of distracted driving, both with high-tech distractions and old-fashioned ones, seemingly continues unabated despite a series of high-profile, attention-grabbing television and radio advertisements sponsored by the nation's four largest cell phone providers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon). The "Texting & Driving, It Can Wait" campaign has been going for months now, and features radio ads reinforcing the importance of keeping your cell phone safely stowed away while on the road and television commercials showing the sober aftermath of texting-related accidents. The campaign's official site even includes a pledge for teens and adults to promise they will resist the temptation to text behind the wheel.


There are also government-sponsored programs stressing the hazards of distracted driving. The federal National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an entire website devoted to educating the public about road safety and the reality of not paying attention to the road. For example, data on the site shows that people texting behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to have an accident than drivers who don't text. Another startling statistic: every day there are more than 660,000 distracted drivers on the roadways of America. Perhaps that explains why there are nearly 400,000 people injured in distracted driving-related car accidents each year.


A myth debunked

A recent NHTSA study proves that, contrary to popular belief, hands-free technology that can be used to draft texts and emails verbally while behind the wheel is not any safer than doing those same actions manually. The truth is that texting, emailing or surfing the web - no matter what form - is too much of a cognitive distraction for a driver to do safely.


Getting the help you need

Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver? Are you worried about how medical bills, lost work, rehabilitation and vehicle repairs will affect you financially? Would you like more information about holding the distracted driver accountable for your injuries? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area today.