One text or call is all it takes to wreck it all. This makes sense. Those few seconds you look away from the road could cost you your life.
Taking a Toll on Us
Driver inattention or distracted driving is cited by recent studies as the number one reason for causing crashes and near-crashes. The same findings show that almost 80% of all crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of distracted driving within three seconds before the incident. This problem continues to grow despite us knowing the dangers involved with distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Statistics
In Kentucky in 2018, there were over 57,000 cases of crashes where driver distraction was said to be a factor. These collisions caused 139 fatalities. Also, a recent study claims that using your phone while driving decreases your attention on driving by 37%. While these numbers are down from previous years, there is still a long way to go to end distracted driving.
Prevention is the Best Cure
Distracted driving comes in several forms. You may not realize it, but there are instances when you engage in one. Common causes of driver inattention are typical activities that we do – from talking to passengers, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, to using cell phones. Let’s talk further about these distractions and how we can prevent ourselves from engaging in them while driving. Some of the different forms of distracted driving include:
- Cell phones and other electronic devices – Cell phones and other electronic devices are a huge distraction. Please put these devices away before you drive so you won’t be tempted to look at them.
- Children – Kids are great, but they can be distracting when you are trying to drive. Make sure your kids are properly buckled up in the backseat. Their seat belts should be snug to keep them in place. Stop or pull over if your child suddenly throws a tantrum. Do not drive until you have calmed them down. Allow them to hold their favorite toy or storybook to keep them busy.
- Pets – Ensure that your pet is secured by using a harness system. Letting them sit on your lap or roam around freely inside the car can be distracting. Give them anything to keep them occupied, like a bone or toy. In case you’re on a long trip, try and make frequent stops so your pets can stretch and go to the bathroom.
- Grooming – Never fix your hair, apply makeup or attire while behind the wheel. If you can, adjust your clock and wake up early so you’re all set by the time you start the engine.
- Eating and drinking – Yes, it is convenient, but, at the same time, it’s dangerous. Refrain from eating or drinking while driving a vehicle. If you have to, then try to avoid messy foods or those that may spill over. Stick to finger foods.
As “The Lawyer Who Wrote the Book” on personal injury in Kentucky, I would like to remind everyone to please keep your full attention on the road while you’re driving. Distracted driving isn’t something we can just ignore. It steals lives. Fortunately, it is preventable. All we have to do is put away electronics (like cell phones), teach our kids to not distract drivers and to always be aware of our surroundings.