Distracted Driving: Sobering Statistics
While we all understand that we shouldn’t text and drive, it is only when you see the statistics that the true extent of this epidemic becomes clear. According to the National Safety Council, 23 percent of car crashes are caused by so-called distracted drivers, and according to the latest federal data, more than 3,328 people were killed and approximately 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers nationwide in 2012. Teenagers, parents, seniors, children; the thousands of lives destroyed every year by distracted driving make this a public health crisis that requires immediate, coordinated, focused action.
Indiana Distracted Driving Laws
Like most states, Indiana has implemented laws that seek to curb driver distractions. Indiana law bans text messaging for all drivers and all cell phone use for drivers 18 and under. Sadly, however, this has done little to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents.
“The Distracted Brain”
Although texting is the biggest culprit when it comes to driver distractions, simply talking on a cell phone while operating a vehicle is inherently risky. The National Safety Council warns that even hands-free devices make drivers four times as likely to crash.
Although driving is something most of us seem to do on autopilot, driving a vehicle is actually a complicated task that requires a tremendous amount of concentration and motor skill. Research from the National Safety Council shows that drivers who hold cell phone conversations while driving miss half of the information in their environment. When we talk and drive, the distraction impacts three layers of driving.
- Visual. We miss exits, fail to see red lights, and miss out on important details in our visual fields.
- Manual. Even hands-free devices require us to take our hands off the wheel. Fiddling with phone buttons, wires, and power sources compromises our ability to stay in control of the vehicle. Reaction times are slower, leading to more accidents.
- Cognitive. When our brains are inside a conversation, they are less likely to be focused on the task of driving.
Helping Victims of Distracted Drivers
Distracted drivers who cause accidents are liable for the injuries and property damage they cause. As an experienced Indiana personal injury and car accident lawyer, I have seen first-hand the tragic injuries and losses caused by distracted driving and urge all drivers to put down the phone when behind the wheel. If you have been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, call me today at (812) 426-0600 or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.