With Spring Break right around the corner there are going to be many people loading up their vehicles and driving many miles towards a weeklong getaway. Imagine what a car loaded down with luggage, friends, music and electronics would be like! Rest assured, you can call that a car full of distractions. We all know how normalized it has become to be driving and be on your phone. Or when you are stopped at a stop light and you touch up your makeup, eat your lunch, or check your social media. Those “quick checks” at stop lights can easily turn into you checking while you are driving down the road. This is known as distracted driving and is commonly seen with the use of an electronic device but is not limited to that alone. Many times, it seems like a harmless act to go through the nearest drive thru to grab food and eat it while driving down the road… but even that is dangerous and distracting.
If you are traveling down the road – whether that be for a Spring Break trip or a regular route to work or school – you need to drive responsibly. If you have a passenger in the car, you should rely on them to take care of the daily distractions. Let them choose the music, let them handle the texts and calls, or handle any unexpected issues. Take turns driving so you each can eat from the passenger seat or take a nap if you need to reenergize!
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded (VTTI, 2009).
Just in case that fact was not convincing enough for you, here a few more facts to back up how distracted driving can be fatal:
In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes (NHTSA 2015).
The percentage of driver’s text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014.(NHTSA, 2015).
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010 (NOPUS, 2013).
A 2015 Erie Insurance distracted driving survey reported that drivers do all sorts of dangerous things behind the wheel including brushing teeth and changing clothes. The survey also found that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving, and three-quarters saying they’ve seen others do it (ERIE INSURANCE, 2015).
So as you load up your vehicle to take on that fun Spring Break trip, keep in mind these statistics. Think of how fast your life could change because of a few seconds you couldn’t wait to check your phone or eat that food. Think of yourself and other drivers on the road you could be endangering.
If you do find yourself in an accident due to your driving mistakes or injured due to someone else’s mistakes on the road, contact an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. You can give Tad Morlan a call at 800.246.8000 or visit his website for more information.