Most people in Kentucky know what it means to be a safe driver. Safe driving habits include always wearing a seatbelt, following the posted speed limit and focusing on the road at all times. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these safe-driving habits. Distracted driving in particular is a growing problem, which means that you are at risk every time you get behind the wheel.
Although distracted driving is not a new phenomenon, it is getting worse. A study from AAA recently demonstrated that distracted driving is a bigger problem than intoxicated drivers. Part of the problem could be due to a societal shift in attitudes toward this serious problem.
Distracted driving is widespread
According to the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index from AAA, 88% of American drivers believe that distracted driving is getting worse. However, that same study also found that 90% of those same drivers believed they were capable of engaging in distracted behaviors. They did not think other drivers could necessarily do the same.
For example, 49% of participants reported that they had talked on a cellphone while driving at least once. The same study found that 35% of people admitted to sending texts or emails when behind the wheel. Contradictory opinions between what is acceptable for a given driver versus the general population was not limited to distracted driving. Other behaviors that drivers believed were dangerous but had performed themselves include:
- Speeding in residential areas
- Driving through red lights
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
Smartphones are a serious problem
According to 2015 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 people died in distracted driving accidents that year. That same year 391,000 suffered injuries related to distracted driving. Many of those accidents were probably related to cell phone use.
The NHTSA also reported that around 660,000 drivers use their cellphones behind the wheel each and every day. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that distracted driving causes 1,000 injuries and nine deaths every day. Teenagers are also more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes than older drivers.
Driver's eyes belong on the road
No matter how good a person's text messaging skills might be, he or she cannot safely text while driving. When traveling at 55 mph, in the average time that it takes to send or read a text message -- about five seconds -- a driver will have his or her eyes off of the road for what equals the length of a football field. This is how crashes can occur in surprisingly small windows of time.
If distracted driving caused your accident, you already know just how severe the consequences can be. Maybe your car is totalled or you suffered serious injuries that are keeping you out of work. This can be an emotionally, physically and financially difficult period of time, but you are not alone. With the right help and guidance, you can pursue compensation for your injuries by filing a personal injury suit against the distracted driver.