Distracting Driving Causes Thousands of Injuries Every Year
Distracted driving is quickly becoming a significant public health crisis in the United States. This epidemic has spread as smartphones, tablets, in-vehicle entertainment systems, and navigation programs have become standard equipment in nearly every new vehicle. Drivers are now faced with countless distractions every time they drive. Now, more than ever, it is essential for injury victims to hold negligent drivers accountable for the injuries they cause through distracted driving. At Deldar Legal, our experienced San Jose auto accident lawyers have helped many California accident victims protect their legal right to compensation. Call (844) 335-3271 today to schedule your free consultation.
The Facts About Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving killed more than three thousand victims in 2017. That same year, drunk drivers killed more than ten thousand victims across the United States. These statistics show that distracted driving is quickly becoming a serious health risk on par with drunk driving.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 59.6 percent of California drivers reported being hit or nearly hit by a driver who was talking or texting. Even worse: a 2016 survey found that drivers aged 16 to 24 had a significantly higher rate of using handheld devices while driving than other age groups. Distracted driving is especially dangerous for inexperienced drivers. Higher rates of texting and driving add to the already high accident rates for this age group.
California, like many other states, has enacted traffic laws that prohibit distracted driving. The California Vehicle Code prohibits the use of handheld wireless phones and communication devices while driving. These devices may only be used if they have a voice-operated, hands-free function, and are used in that mode while driving. Laws such as this have been proven to have a deterrent effect on texting and driving. Unfortunately, many California drivers choose to ignore this law. Violating this law can lead to a traffic ticket or liability for an accident that results. It could even lead to criminal charges if someone dies as a result of a distracted driving accident.
What Drivers Can Do to Eliminate Distractions While on the Road
Each and every California driver must accept personal responsibility to avoid driving while distracted. Here are some important steps for drivers to take:
Remove temptations in the vehicle
For many drivers, it is easier to avoid distracted driving if their phone is not accessible at all. Consider keeping your phone out of reach in the backseat or trunk of your vehicle. If you do keep your phone close, be sure to use features such as Driving Mode, which will screen calls and texts, and send outgoing messages that advise you are driving.
Program your destination into your GPS before leaving
Some states have enacted distracted driving laws that prevent the use of a navigation system while driving. Drivers must program the system before leaving and not use it while the vehicle is in motion. California’s distracted driving law does not require this. Still, it is a good practice, and drivers should make efforts to avoid becoming distracted by a GPS or navigation system while they are driving.
Make family rules about distracted driving
Children are constantly observing their parents. Children who see their parents drive while distracted can be more likely to text and drive themselves when they get their licenses. This is highly dangerous for young, inexperienced drivers. More importantly, set rules help family members hold one another accountable. If every family member checks in and reminds the others not to use a phone while driving, this can help each individual to be more careful about distracted driving.
Keep your vehicle organized
Loose items can distract a driver. Be sure your cargo is secured before you hit the road. Throw away trash and clean out your vehicle on a regular basis.
Take the time to pull over
Most drivers are reluctant to spend time pulling off the road. This is especially true in Southern California, where heavy traffic and long commutes can make any drive stressful. But pulling over saves lives. Take the time to arrive safely. If you are tired, find a safe place to pull over and rest. Stop before using your phone. Find a safe place to secure cargo, deal with pets or children, or address any other distractions that are taking your attention off the road.
Rely on passengers
Many drivers like to feel in control of the vehicle and stay in charge of everything from temperature to the radio station. These are unnecessary distractions. Let your passengers help you use navigation programs, adjust the radio, or make other necessary changes. You should also speak up if your passengers are distracting you. Noise and movement should not be allowed to take your attention off the road, where it belongs. Your passengers can make the ride more or less safe. Hold them accountable for reducing distractions – not adding to them.
Set boundaries with work messages
Many employees feel the urgent need to respond the instant they receive a call, text, or email from the office. This cannot happen while you are driving. Sometimes an employer simply needs to be notified that you are on the road. They will almost certainly prefer a call back later instead of an injured employee. Let your co-workers know ahead of time that you will be unavailable while you are driving. Set your phone to a driving mode that can automatically respond to messages that come in. These simple steps can help you resist the (understandable) urge to respond to messages from your employer immediately.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in an auto accident, the insurance company is not looking out for your legal rights. You need an experienced, aggressive San Jose auto accident lawyer who will fight for your right to be fully and fairly compensated. Call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271 or contact us online. Our experienced car accident injury attorneys will protect your legal rights so that you can focus on your recovery.