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April Is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month!
Distracted driving is becoming the next epidemic on our roads, and one that is entirely preventable. Nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers between 2012 and 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – that’s approximately nine people killed every day.
April is the beginning of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In addition to spreading awareness about the deadly consequences of distracted driving, local police have begun the annual crackdown on drivers who are not paying to the road. Every year, police departments across the state participate in the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, handing out hefty penalties to distracted drivers caught behind the wheel. Connecticut motorists can avoid fines and keep other residents safe on the roads by understanding what distracted driving looks like and how they can reduce distractions to avoid unnecessary accidents.
Distracted Driving Is Everywhere
Distracted driving involves any activity, incident, task, noise, or person that takes your attention off the road. It might seem harmless to look back at a passenger or glance down at an incoming text message, but it only takes a second of looking away from the road to take a life.
The most common forms of distracted driving include:
- Cell phones- texting, calling (hands or hands-free), emailing, social media posting, streaming, or other.
- Daydreaming- looking away from the road while thinking of something else.
- Electronic distractions- GPS’s, tablets, computers, Bluetooth devices, or radio.
- Passengers- talking directly to passengers or hearing their conversations.
- Personal habits- eating, drinking, smoking, or putting on makeup.
- Dropping items- dropping things in between the seats, behind the seats, or down on the floor and leaning to pick them up.
- Fatigue- tiredness cause drivers to become distracted more easily.
Any of these behaviors can lead to a crash involving another motor vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian and result in catastrophic or fatal injuries. The NHTSA reports over 390,000 people were injured in distracted driving-related accidents in 2015, causing injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Broken bones and fractures
Some of the injuries sustained from distracted driving accidents are debilitating, resulting in nerve damage, amputations, or other permanent disabilities that can change someone’s life forever. Prevention is the most effective method of reducing these careless accidents and help protect thousands of lives from being lost each year.
How To Prevent Road Distractions
Everyone at some point has been guilty of distracted driving, and we can all stand to be a little more attentive to the road and less attentive to everything else around us. Here are some tips for how to reduce your risk of causing a distracted driving accident:
- Don’t use your cell phone while driving- for anything.
- Pull over if you need to make a call, even if it is hands-free.
- If you feel tired, pull off the road and take a break.
- Do not multi-task while driving.
- Keep your passengers under control or limit the number of people allowed in your vehicle.
- Avoid behaviors such as eating or applying makeup that take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.
- Keep the music low enough to avoid becoming distracted.
- Always input GPS coordinates before you begin to drive.
Tools To Reduce Distractions
Our phones are one of the most significant distractions when it comes to driving. While some drivers are comfortable keeping their phone out of sight and out of mind when driving, most drivers still believe that ‘quickly checking’ their phone while behind the road is harmless.
Knowing there will always be phone addicts on the road, these tech companies highlighted by Mashable created some useful tools drivers can install to reduce the temptation to use their smartphone while driving:
- Canary: This app is perfect for parents looking to monitor their teen’s driving behaviors. Not only does it monitor phone activity while someone is driving, but it will also alert parents when their kids have been speeding!
- Glimpse: This app syncs with your car’s computer to help reduce the need to look down and take your eyes off the road. It displays information on the dashboard such as directions or updates to take away the need to look completely down at a screen.
- Cellcontrol: Cellcontrol works by syncing through Bluetooth to your vehicle and actually preventing drivers from using their phones when their car is in motion. If the car stops, the driver has access to the phone again, but once it’s in motion again, a screensaver blocks any activity or alerts.
- iZup: Another app looking to reduce the number of drivers just glancing at their phones is iZup, pronounced ‘eyes up’. This app will hold all your texts, and emails, and automatically send calls to voicemail when activated.
- Twist: So you are running late and you want your friends to know- this app helps! Simply plug in your GPS location before you leave and Twist will send your friends a message regarding your ETA so you don’t have to text or call while driving.
- OneProtect: OneProtect allows parents and family members to have remote control over their loved one’s phone when driving. It enables them to install driving policies that they must follow to use their phone and will lock the driver out of the device if above a certain speed limit.
Commit To Driving Safe
Think you can commit to safe driving this April- take the pledge! The Just Drive campaign is a pledge you can take with your family and friends to encourage each other to drive carefully by following these rules:
- Protect the lives of others by never texting or talking on the phone while driving.
- Be a good passenger and speak our if the driver in your car is distracted.
- Encourage your friends and family to drive hands free.
For more details on how to take the Just Drive pledge, visit the National Safety Council page website.
Connecticut Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the careless acts of another driver, Jacobs & Wallace is here to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a FREE consultation and to discuss your options for seeking justice for your injuries.