With all of today’s news, entertainment, and communication coming through our cellphones, the temptation to stay connected is hard to resist. Constant updates and notifications continually distract drivers. Over 70 percent of young adults admit to using their cellphones behind the wheel, and over 30 percent admit to nearly crashing as a result. Though a seemingly simple distraction, texting while driving is a dangerous habit that could lead to financial, legal, and emotional ramifications.
Statistics on Texting while Driving:
- The National Security Council estimates that 1,600,000 accidents per year are caused by texting and driving.
- Distracted drivers kill an average of 9 Americans per day and injure over 1,000.
- Texting while driving has surpassed drunk driving as the leading cause of death among teens.
- Automobile crashes are three times more likely while texting and driving.
- When a driver is distracted, his brake reaction speed decreases by 18 percent.
- The time to break if driving at 55 mph could be the amount of time it takes to cross a football field.
What the Law Says
While Kentucky prohibits all drivers from texting while driving, the laws are often difficult to enforce. The current law does not specifically prohibit surfing the web or scrolling through songs on a music player, and allows dialing, looking through contacts, and using GPS software. The loopholes make it easy for drivers to use their devices without fear of the law.
How can this dangerous habit be broken?
There are simple strategies that can be practiced by teens and adults alike. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses the phrase “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” to describe their number one prevention technique. When drivers place their phones out of reach, the temptation to use it instantly decreases. Additionally, if the phone is put on silent while in the car, the driver will not be distracted if it rings. Drivers should put their phones in the back seat, their purses, or even in the trunk to reduce the temptation to use it while behind the wheel.
When driving with passengers, the driver should use a “designated texter.” A designated texter is a passenger who takes control of the driver’s phone while they are in the car. The passenger has the responsibility of keeping the driver focused, while dictating and sending texts, calls, or directions when needed. Using a designated texter will also take away the driver’s temptation to look at his phone while driving.
For parents, a few measures can be taken to ensure their child is being safe on the road. Installing a DriveCam in the car, which monitors risky driving, can help users become aware of their driving habits and how to be more cautious on the road. Alternatively, apps can be installed on smartphones that block certain functions while driving, alert parents when a child’s phone is being accessed, and give rewards for safe driving.
Above all, the best way to prevent texting while driving is to set a good example. Forty-eight percent of teens have been in a car with a driver who was texting, and 48 percent of teens have seen their parent texting while driving. Drivers should take an active pledge to remain cellphone-free while driving, and encourage other to do the same. Passengers should speak up if they are in a car with a driver who is texting. Staying conscious of the decisions one makes while behind the wheel will help prevent distracted driving and will make it safer to travel on roads.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC | A Personal Injury Law Firm
Despite our best efforts, traffic accidents are unavoidable. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for legal compensation. Know that we are here to assist you. At Gladstein Law, we provide experienced personal injury representation with a combination of compassion, skill, and tenacity. We are experts in identifying the legal and financial needs that come from personal injury, and we fight with persistency to ensure those needs are adequately met. Attorney and founder Seth Gladstein uses his wide range of experience to anticipate the prosecution’s plans and find weaknesses in their case. He will examine every detail of your situation to determine the best way to move forward. Contact Gladstein Law Firm today for a free consultation.
Most teen drivers pick up their bad and good driving habits from their parents. Parents who are poor role models behind the wheel often have children who show little responsibility when driving – and this may even increase the likelihood of them being involved in an accident. According to the Driving Change Report published by Allstate Foundation, teens consider their parents to be the biggest influence when it comes to their driving behaviors.
The Allstate Foundation’s report showed that parents are just as guilty as teens when it comes to poor and risky driving behaviors – especially when it came to things like distracted driving and even speeding. In fact, their study showed that:
- 84 percent of parents admitted to Allstate that they speeded with their teen drivers in the car, while 79 percent of teens stated that they do drive faster than the published speed limit while driving themselves.
- 88 percent of parents admitted that they use their cellphones while driving – while 87 percent of the teens surveyed admitted to talking, texting or reading emails while driving.
Speeding and distracted driving are two of the biggest contributors to car accidents across the country – and both are illegal for most states. In fact, distracted driving can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to DistractedDriving.gov, distracted driving has claimed more than 3,154 lives in 2013. A few other statistics further showing how dangerous distracted driving is includes:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in the United States there are an estimated 660,000 vehicles being driven by those holding cellphones at any time (2011).
- In 2012, more than two-thirds of drivers nationwide admitted to talking on their cellphones while driving at least once in the last 30 days.
Unfortunately, adults still do not feel that distracted driving is dangerous – even after studies have shown the delayed responses and the dangers associated with removing eyes from the road even for a few seconds.
Most Parents Are Unaware of Teen Driving Habits – Good or Bad
Unfortunately most parents are clueless when it comes to the driving habits of their teens. They do not monitor their driving activities nor do they themselves exhibit good driving behaviors – only further influencing poor habits behind the wheel. Today, teen drivers are still one of the more dangerous groups behind the wheel and are a threat to those around them – especially when they engage in risky or dangerous behaviors.
Parents can help reduce their teen’s risk just by taking a more active role in helping them to develop good driving habits. Parents should also always exhibit good driving habits themselves – habits such as maintaining the speed limit, never driving recklessly and of course, refraining from distracted driving at all times.
Injured in a Car Accident? Speak with a Louisville Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of a reckless or distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation. Schedule online or call 800-991-0474 to get started.
In recent years, the subject of distracted driving has become increasingly common in courtrooms across the country. New studies confirm that performing non-driving, manual tasks while behind the wheel increases the risk of getting in an accident by three times. One of the most common – and deadly – non-driving distractions is texting. The average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for five seconds while texting, which, at 55 miles per hour, equals the length of a football field.
An increasing number of states have passed laws against hand-held cellphone use while driving. While Kentucky’s distracted driving laws are comparatively mild, residents should be aware of the medical, financial, emotional, and legal consequences of driving while distracted.
Kentucky’s Distracted Driving Laws
Distracted driving laws were implemented in July of 2010, becoming fully effective in January 2011. Although texting while driving is banned across the majority of the U.S, cell phone use altogether, including talking, is only illegal in Kentucky if you are a novice driver under the age of 18. However, the law also focuses on bus drivers, who are prohibited from using cell phones and hands-free devices while driving. These are primary laws in Kentucky, meaning that no other cause for investigation is needed for a police officer to pull a driver over. The minimum fine for distracted driving in Kentucky is $25.
Distracted Driving Statistics
- In a study of drivers under the age of 20 involved in deadly car crashes, 10 percent were distracted at the time of the accident.
- Studies have proven that hands-free cell phones are no safer than regular cell phones.
- During daylight hours, roughly 660,000 drivers are manipulating a device while operating a vehicle.
- Child passengers are four times more distracting than adults.
- Infant passengers are eight times more distracting than adults.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving increases your risk of crashing by four, equal to the risk of drinking and driving.
- The risk of crashing multiplies by eight if you are texting.
- In a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 90 percent of drivers considered cell phone talking, texting, and e-mailing use “unacceptable.” Nevertheless, 35 percent of the same group confessed to at least one of these acts while driving.
Other Types of Distraction
Texting is considered the most lethal form of distracted driving due to the combination of
cognitive, visual, and manual requirements. Although cell phone use for talking and texting is the most well-known form of distraction, other activities can be equally hazardous:
- Eating and drinking
- Grooming (applying make-up, etc.)
- Adjusting radio, CD player, MP3, or navigation system.
- Reading, including maps and directions
- Watching a video
Gladstein Law Firm – Serving Lexington, Bowling Green, Murray, and Owensboro
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for legal compensation. At Gladstein Law, we provide experienced personal injury representation with a combination of compassion, skill, and tenacity. Attorney and founder Seth Gladstein uses his experience as an insurance company attorney to anticipate the prosecution’s plans and find weaknesses in their case. He will examine every detail of your situation to determine the best way to move forward. Contact Gladstein Law Firm today for a free consultation.
The dramatic increase in the popularity of text messaging has led to a new category of distracted driving-related accidents. As a result, legislators have been prompted to enact laws governing the use of cell phones while operating a vehicle.
Cell Phones and Distracted Driving
Following the publication of a barrage of statistics that shed light on the dangers of distracted driving, many states have enacted laws to discourage drivers from texting and otherwise using a mobile device while on the road. A study conducted by Erie Insurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named cell phone use as the number two cause of all accidents that reportedly involved distracted driving. The sharp increase in these cases immediately grabbed the attention of lawmakers.
Changes in the Law
As of March 2015, 14 states along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted primary enforcement laws in which an officer may issue a citation to a driver for using a handheld cellphone even if no other offense has taken place. In 38 states and the District of Columbia, all behind-the-wheel cell phone use is banned for novice drivers. Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have prohibited cell phone use by school bus drivers while on duty. When it comes to text messaging, 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have banned text messaging for drivers of all ages; 39 have enacted primary enforcement laws. In the remaining six states that do not currently ban text messaging across the board, four prohibit novice drivers from texting, and three do not allow school bus drivers to text while driving.
Recommended Changes in Driver Behavior
Because state laws regarding texting and general cell phone use while driving vary, drivers should become familiar with the laws that govern their state as well as any other states in which they intend to drive. More important than avoiding the legal ramifications of texting while driving, saving lives and preventing injuries is the number one goal of legislation that aims to discourage drivers from using a cell phone behind the wheel. In an effort to reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in a telephone distraction-related incident, drivers should consider making modifications to their driving behavior. Incoming calls that occur while on the road should be allowed to go to voicemail. If the driver must answer the call or text message, he or she should pull over in a safe location before answering or responding to the message. Furthermore, parents who drive with their children in the vehicle should set positive examples as their children will one day be charged with the responsibility of safely operating a vehicle.
Individuals who find themselves facing a texting while driving charge should immediately seek legal advice prior to deciding how to respond. If you need legal advice regarding a distracted driving case, we are here to help. Call us today, or fill out our online contact form, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.