Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from control of his motor vehicle. In our modern, technologically obsessed age, the number of distractions has greatly expanded, and includes texting, hand-held cell phone use, using a navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a radio, CD player or an MP3 player, or eating, drinking, grooming and reading. The most dangerous, by far, of all types of distracted driving is text messaging because it takes a driver’s visual, manual and cognitive attention away from the road.
Here are a few statistics and facts just to give you an idea of the impact distracted driving has in the United States alone:
1) According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority, drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into serious car crashes than when not using hand-held devices, while those texting while driving are eight times more likely to become involved in serious crashes while driving;
2) Sending or receiving a text message while driving takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, a vehicle travels 404.8 feet during this time period;
3) In 2012, approximately 3,500 people were killed in car crashes involving at least one distracted driver;
4) Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity available to pay attention for driving by 37% (study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University).
Lipkin & Apter attorney Kevin B. Apter is an active speaker for EndDD.org Foundation, a group affiliated with the Casey Feldman Foundation. The primary goal of these organizations is to educate the driving public of the dangers associated with distracted driving. Kevin visits local Illinois high schools as a representative of EndDD.org and speaks to Traffic Safety students. The program has been well received, and is now part of the curriculum at Highland Park High School in north suburban Chicago, Illinois.
People are often surprised to learn that car accidents caused by distracted driving are not primarily a teen issue. In 2011, only 20% of distracted driving car accidents involved a teen, whereas 72% involved drivers over the age of 30. Whether due to poor judgment or diminished reflexes, many older drivers have fallen prey to driving while involved with distracting activities. Unfortunately, accidents are not limited by age or professional success. Please visit EndDD.org and/or CaseyFeldmanFoundation.org for more information and to learn more about the hazards associated with distracted driving. You will also obtain information about how your own actions can help reduce tragedies among not only young people, but among all drivers.