Distracted driving: a deadly killer
According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2015 alone. The numbers are significant and tragic, indicating a larger social issue that is often treated lightly by many people. At this point, it is almost unheard of for an individual of legal driving age to not have a mobile phone on them at all times, and the modern conveniences of dashboard consoles and navigation devices inside the vehicle also can create serious distractions for drivers of all ages.
In addition to devices in the vehicle, drivers are often consumed with other activities that can impair their ability to see dangers, take evasive action, or simply follow the posted rules of the road. These activities include eating, drinking beverages, putting on makeup, chatting with passengers, and a whole host of other actions that may prevent them from focusing on operating the vehicle in a safe and responsible manner.
According to the NHTSA, the definition of distracted driving is: “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” Of all distractions, it is easy to believe that texting while driving is the most dangerous of all because the driver’s attention is typically completely diverted to the task of reading and responding to text messages. It takes five full seconds (on average) to send or read a text, which, at a speed of 55 miles per hour, will allow the vehicle to travel the length of a professional football field without having your eyes on the road.
While the tragic number of deaths is a sobering enough statistic, that number does not even take into account the number of injuries that occur due to distracted drivers. According to the NHTSA study, another 391,000 people suffered serious injuries in 2015, all directly related to distracted driving. These figures are far too high (even one death caused by distracted driving is one death too many), and action must be taken to stop this devastating loss of life and serious injury.
Recently, states have started focusing on the dangers of distracted drivers and have focused public safety initiatives aimed at educating the public and putting punishment in place for drivers who are spotted driving while focusing on other activities in the vehicle. Sometimes, these punishments aren’t enough, and if an individual is seriously hurt in an accident caused by a distracted driver, they may be able to take legal action against the responsible party. I found this personal injury firm in Houston that has a track record of representing injured individuals. Law firms like this and others across the nation will often help people who have been hurt in an accident hold the responsible party accountable through civil actions called torts.