Understanding The Basics of Distracted Driving

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Car Accidents

Car accidents can be devastating. It has led to the injury or death of many Americans. According to the website of The Law Office of Jeff Benton, an estimated 40,000 people are losing their lives yearly in car accidents. In addition, these crashes can have a painful and burdensome impact on the victims.

One of the major causes of car accidents in the United States is distracted driving.This refers to any activity that could divert a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Such distractions can jeopardize the safety of the driver, passenger, and bystander. Examples of these distractions can be texting, using GPS, reading maps, eating and drinking, and others. Over the years, distracted driving has seen a dramatic increase with the proliferation of cell phones, GPS systems, and other in-vehicle and personal electronic devices.

Texting has emerged as the most alarming distraction to drivers. This is because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. According to figures from CTIA, approximately 169.3 billion text messages were sent in the US on a monthly basis.Recent figures from the NHTSA revealed that the percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent a year later.

With the number of people having smartphones or GPS devices increasing, the incidence of distracted driving has also increased. In 2014, there were 3,179 deaths and 431,000 injuries as a result of distracted driving. According to the website of an Iowa car accident attorney, car accidents can leave persons badly injured or requiring significant medical care and a long difficult recovery. A recent study by the NHTSA revealed that drivers in their 20’s accounted for 23 percent of drivers in fatal crashes and 38 percent of distracted drivers were using cell phones during the crash.

In the light of the growing menace of distracted driving, there are now many laws in place that ban text messaging and other distracted driving activities. In 2009, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that bans Federal employees from texting while driving on official government business or while using government-supplied equipment while driving at other times. Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made distracted driving his signature safety issue.

In April 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the first stage of its voluntary distracted driving guidelines. It aims to limit the distraction risk connected to electronic devices built into their vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board followed the lead taken by the NHTSA and has taken initiatives to put an end to distracted driving.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has also provided information on the current laws in place centered around using cellular phones and texting while driving laws. Hand-held cell phone use ban is in place in 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

In addition, 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use for novice or teen drivers. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones in 20 states and in D.C. In 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, text messaging is banned for all drivers.

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