Few people would use a dangerous weapon like an explosive device or firearm while distracted and not paying attention. Yet, many motorists think nothing of multi-tasking while operating a motor vehicle, which claims more lives than any other dangerous instrumentality. Distracted driving claims the lives of over 6,000 people per year and plays a role in approximately 21% of police reported auto accidents nationally.
The problem seems to be growing as technology creates more and more gadgets that tempt drivers to devote less than their full attention to their driving. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing the victims of distracted drivers for over 39 years.
Distracted driving can take many forms and stem from many causes. Some common distractions that frequently play a role in fatal auto accidents include:
- Texting on a mobile device or cellular phone
- Talking on a cell phone
- Applying makeup or fixing one’s hair in the mirror
- Putting in contact lenses
- Watching multi-media or videos
- Looking at a GPS device
- Adjusting a car stereo or radio
- Reading a newspaper, book or magazine
- Eating, drinking or smoking
- Engaging in a conversation with a passenger
Distracted driving occurs when a driver is slow in identifying information needed to safely complete a driving task because something within or outside the car draws the driver’s attention away from driving. The presence of a triggering event distinguishes a distracted driver from one who is simply inattentive.
Distracted driving involves any activity that distracts a driver from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of a serious auto accident. There are three main types of driving distraction:
- Visual – Diverting one’s eyes from the roadway
- Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel to text, change the radio or reach for something
- Cognitive – Thinking about things other than your driving
The increase in popularity in handheld electronic devices including cell phones, PDAs, iPads and similar gadgets means that the number of distracted drivers is growing. Texting while driving has become such a problem that it has been characterized as posing more of a risk of causing a fatal car accident than drunk driving. Thirty states, including Georgia, have passed laws prohibiting texting while driving. Unfortunately, many drivers continue to engage in texting while driving because they consider the convenience worth the risk. Drivers need to remember that a motor vehicle is potentially a very lethal weapon that causes catastrophic injuries and fatalities. A driver should always focus one’s eyes and mind on their driving while paying attention to potential road hazards or emergencies.
As part of its ongoing efforts to prevent injuries, Montlick Injury Attorneys has an extensive public service campaign designed to educate and remind people about the dangers of texting while driving. Our public service campaign includes television messages, a 2-minute news segment, and billboards to help remind people while they are driving.