Distracted driving Is quickly becoming the new driving under the influence
Distracted driving is a blurred subject to many. To some, eating, and changing the radio is OK, while texting behind the wheel is an absolute NO. Others, which unfortunately make up for a very small percentage of drivers, believe that any distraction no matter how small should wait until you reach your destination. Finally, there are many who believe that they are able to multitask while behind the wheel, and that texting and driving is something that can be taught. This very mentality is what the National Safety Council (NSC) has recognized as The Great Multitasking Lie. They lead this campaign with the statement,
“Drivers can multitask”
They then state this is a myth, following up with,
“The human brain cannot do two things at the same time—like watch TV and hold a phone conversation. The same is true when driving and talking on the phone. Your brain switches between the two tasks which slows reaction time.”
The NSC has a large list of common distracted driving myths, all of which emphasize the danger of this driving impairment. This campaign ultimately shows that there are many forms of distraction, all of which are becoming more common.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING
As earlier stated, many people are under the impression that texting and driving is the only form of distracted driving, and even then, believe that it’s okay to multitask behind the wheel as long as you’re “good” at it.
Distracted driving, in reality, is anything that causes you to divert your attention away from the road. According to the NHTSA, these distractions can be broken down even further into three different categories:
Visual: Anything that causes you to take your eyes away from the road
Manual: Anything that causes you to take your hands away from the steering wheel
Cognitive: Anything that causes you to take your mind off of driving
The biggest problem associated with distracted driving is the fact that a large percentage of U.S. drivers understand the severity and dangers associated with driving distracted, however, they are under the impression that they can multitask. We often hear friends and coworkers say, “I am good at paying attention while texting,” or “I don’t worry about the dangers of driving distracted because I only use my phone at stoplights.”
In 2016, the last year the NHTSA has statistics for about distracted driving, there were 3,450 distracted driving-related deaths. In addition to these deaths, there were over 391,000 people injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. The NHTSA has also stated,
Texting while driving is like drinking four beers and hopping behind the wheel.
Drunk drivers are so dangerous because:Their reaction times are slowed
Their judgment making skills are impaired
They may not see foreign objects in their way
Do these impairments sound familiar to anyone? If so, it’s probably because all of these things also happen when a driver chooses to distract themselves behind the wheel.
As it stands currently, California has anti-texting laws in place. However, these laws are making an extremely small change in the number of distracted driving accidents annually. Currently, the texting laws do too little to prevent the guilty party of driving distracted again:
First Offense - A $20 fine
Following Offenses - $50 with the possibility of additional penalties
As you can see, these fines are minimal. However, there are many lawmakers in California who are pushing to make this fine much heftier, to help prevent these actions from happening again. The proposed change, known as Assembly Bill 47, would add a point to the guilty driver’s record, making breaking this law much more impactful. Jim Frazier, the author of this bill states his reason behind the change is that,
“I need to do everything I can to make people aware that what they are doing can hurt other people.”
SACHS LAW KNOWS THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR DISTRACTED DRIVING
Here at Sachs Law, our team of California and Nevada personal injury attorneys has been helping those who have been injured in accidents involving a distracted driver seek the compensation they deserve to allow them to return to their lifestyle before the accident. We understand the feelings you may have following an accident caused by nothing other than negligence, and we want to ensure you that we will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Give our car accident attorneys at Sachs Law a call today at (833) MVP-WINS for a free initial consultation.
Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.
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