April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It's an important time to raise awareness about the dangers of inattentive driving. Thousands of people are killed each year in the U.S. in motor vehicle crashes that involved distracted driving. Many more are seriously injured. In fact, statistics are likely under-estimated because distraction is not always reported; for example, someone who was inattentive because of drowsiness is unlikely to report being drowsy to responding officers.
Please learn more about this serious cause of crashes in the sections below. Pledge to eliminate distractions under your control, so you can do your part to prevent these incidents.
What Defines Distracted Driving in 2019?
Distractions remain the same. Anything that takes your eyes, hands and/or mind away from the task of driving is considered a distraction. It could be a personal source of distraction, like daydreaming or applying cosmetics in the mirror. It could involve an object in your vehicle, like your cell phone. It could come from an argument with a passenger, or beautiful scenery outside your window. There are 3 ways it manifests:
Because smart phones and other devices are part and parcel of modern life, it can be difficult for drivers to untether themselves once they get behind the wheel, but it's vital to do so. Electronic devices tend to be a major source of driver inattention:
- "Infotainment" displays in the dashboard encourage driver interaction. Their presence alone may lead the motorist to assume use of the system while driving is safe.
- Texting is commonplace and most drivers have a hard time disconnecting. Texting involves all 3 forms of distraction because your hands, eyes and mind are all involved. According to AAA, you are 8 times more likely to get in a crash when you text and drive.
- Adjusting music/audio also remains a source of distraction, as does talking on a phone (whether handheld or hands-free, either way it takes your mind off the task of driving).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people were killed in car accidents caused by distracted driving in 2016. NHTSA says that, during daylight hours, about 481,000 motorists across the country are using their cell phones while driving.
New York's Law
Our state's law prohibits all drivers from use of portable electronic devices. More specifically, the law prohibits:
- Talking on a handheld cell phone
- Texting (including composing, reading, sending, accessing, retrieving, browsing, saving or transmitting an email, text or web page)
- Transmitting, viewing or taking photos
- Playing games on an electronic device
Exceptions are made for hands-free technology that allows you to communicate without using your hands, and for using a vehicle GPS or a handheld device that is affixed to the vehicle.
Your Complimentary Consultation with our Experienced Lawyer
As motorists, we are responsible for the way we drive, including whether we follow safety laws or violate them. If you or a member of your family has been injured by a careless, distracted driver, you may be eligible to pursue compensation in a car accident claim handled by experienced Fishkill, NY, attorney Ira Maurer. For a complimentary, no-obligation review of your claim, please call our law firm at 845-896-5295.