Distracted Driving is Now Considered an Epidemic on U.S. Roads
Everyone tends to think that they’re a safe driver. In fact, many of us believe that we’re so conscientious that it’s no problem to drive in heavy traffic, change the radio station, eat a snack, and respond to an important text message – all at the same time. Unfortunately, distracted driving has proven to be such a deadly combination that it is now considered an epidemic in the United States.
In the past year alone, fatalities from traffic accidents in the U.S. rose by 7.2% to over 35,000, the largest increase in 50 years. Among these, distracted driving accidents played a role in 10% of the traffic deaths. While more than 3,000 people each year are dying from distracted driving, over 420,000 people are injured annually in crashes that involve some sort of distraction.
What Distractions are Taking Our Eyes Off of the Road?
Drivers might think that operating a vehicle is second nature and all muscle memory, but our nation’s roads can be a source of numerous hazards. Not only do drivers need to look out for each other constantly, but traffic lights change, weather alters conditions, and wildlife can impact your driving experience.
There are several ways that distractions affect driving. A driver might take their eyes off of the road, they might remove their hands from the wheel, or they could become mentally distracted. Anything that diverts the driver’s attention from the task of driving can be considered a distraction. This could be other people in the vehicle, eating, applying makeup while driving, or attempting to operate technology in a moving vehicle.
The Problem of Texting and Driving
Smartphone usage in the United States continues to rise, now with more than 68% of U.S. adults owning a device. In some age groups, such as adults aged 18-49, the numbers are well above 80%. Being “connected” has become a way of life for most people today, and there is a strong pull to remain online even while working, eating, and driving. In some cases, such as when you’re operating a vehicle, this need presents both a danger to the driver and others on the road.
A site called Everquote conducted a recent survey of 2,300 American drivers on driving habits. The goal was to learn both what drivers viewed as safe driving habits as well as to discover actual practices of vehicle operators. What the survey revealed was twofold. 96% of those surveyed believed that they were safe drivers. However, over half admitted to using their phones while driving. Interestingly, the Everdrive app showed something much different. The company’s app revealed that as many as 96% of all drivers were using their phones while driving.
Cell phone usage and driving is a deadly combination. It’s now estimated that 1 in 4 car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting while driving. This has become such a problem that you are now six times more likely to get into an accident while texting than you would be if you were drunk. In the 3-5 seconds that it takes to look at a screen or hit a few buttons, a deadly accident can take place.
Distracted Driving Injuries and Your Rights
Distracted driving is a national problem that is being addressed at the state level. Fortunately, the state of Mississippi enacted a law banning texting and driving that went into effect on July 1, 2015. The law does not have full cell phone use restrictions, however, so accidents and injuries still occur. There are also plenty of drivers who still text and drive, regardless of the law.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, let the Mississippi accident attorneys at Gardner Law Firm review your case and explain your rights. Our experienced attorneys will work hard to ensure the right parties are held accountable for the damages and injury caused to others. Contact the Gardner Law Firm at (228) 436-6555 today to schedule a no-cost consultation.