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As a new year begins, it is important to highlight yet again how distracted driving still poses a major threat to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2013, 3,328 people were killed in collisions as a result of a distracted driver. Sadly, whether people want to admit it or not, most partake in distracted driving behaviors on a daily basis. Distracted driving covers any type of activity that takes a driver’s focus away from the road. The most common form of distraction to drivers comes from cell phones.
When you use a cell phone while driving, even if using a hands-free device, you are four times more likely to be involved in a collision, according to the National Safety Council. In fact, cell phones are responsible for approximately 25 percent of all auto accidents. And it is not just talking on a cell phone that is a problem – texting while driving is a very dangerous behavior. The National Safety Council notes that the average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds to send or read a text message. If that doesn’t scare you enough, when the average driver averts their eyes from the roadway to text for that 4.6 seconds while travelling at speeds of 55 miles per hour, they have traveled the length of an entire football field. When put in these terms, it seems like a no-brainer that we should all put our cell phones down and refrain from texting while driving.
Using our cell phones is not the only form of distracted driving. There are many other actions that can be added to the list of distracted driving, such as fiddling with radio dials, eating or drinking, applying makeup, talking to others, checking on children in the back seat and even searching for a destination on your GPS. While these activities may seem harmless, they actually place you and others sharing the roadway with you at an increased risk for becoming involved in a collision. By allowing yourself to become distracted while driving, you are more likely to break simple traffic rules like driving through a red light or stop sign, speeding, failing to use your blinker, making an illegal U-turn, stopping short, and the list just goes on. There are three main types of distractions that have been noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions are the obvious ones that take your eyes off of the road. Manual distractions cause your hands to be removed from the wheel while driving and cognitive distractions take your mind off the at-hand task of operating your vehicle.
We all have the ability to be responsible drivers. So, with 2014 just starting out, let’s all do our part to limit the number of distractions so that unnecessary collisions can be avoided. However, some accidents are simply unavoidable. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver in Inverness, Crystal River, Dunnellon, Homosassa or the surrounding area, please call a Citrus County Auto Accident Lawyer at Whittel & Melton today at 352-726-0078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.