Distracted Driving: Tips, Truths, And Tall Tales

Fact: distracted driving can and does cause car accidents, some of which are fatal. There is no contending this, but there does seem to be some disagreement as to just how dangerous or prevalent distracted driving really is. To help set the record straight, and hopefully help you avoid an auto accident in the future, our Fort Worth personal injury attorneys at Parker Law Firm have collected some tall tales, truths, and tips about distracted driving dangers.

Tall Tales

  • Distracted driving may cause crashes but people are rarely hurt.
    False. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 8 people will lose their lives to distracted driving in the United States every day, and another 1,160 or so will be injured.
  • Only young drivers will distract themselves with cellphones while driving.
    False. A National Safety Council (NSC) survey that targeted people of all age ranges discovered evidence that suggested the opposite. 20% of drivers 18 to 20 years old thought texting and driving was safe but 30% of drivers between the ages of 21 to 31 also held this misled belief.
  • Only cellphones can distract a driver.
    False. While cellphones are the cause of a large number of fatal distracted driving crashes – 38%, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Distraction.gov – talking to passengers, staring at billboards, adjusting the radio, and more all cause distractions that are just as dangerous.

Truths

  • Hands-free devices are just as dangerous as a regular cellphone.
    True. The NSC conducted a recent study to determine if hands-free and built-in communication devices in automobiles made distracted driving accidents less common. They concluded that there was virtually no difference between holding a smartphone and talking into a hands-free speaker.
  • Drivers in the United States text-and-talk more than most other countries.
    True. When the CDC was interested in cellphone usage around the world, they conducted a 30-day survey in several countries. 69% of Americans reported using a smartphone while driving. Only 21% of drivers of the same age group in the United Kingdom admitted to this hazardous behavior.
  • Our brains cannot truly multitask, especially not while driving.
    True. Researchers at the NSC discovered evidence that our brains never truly “multitask”. Instead, we can juggle multiple tasks at once, but none of them get our full attention. Since driving safely requires 100% of your attention, putting any effort into doing something else will dramatically increase your risk of being in a car accident.

Tips

  • Choose your ride carefully.
    If you plan on going out for drinks, make certain the designated driver is fully committed to staying sober, and staying off their cellphones. The CDC found that drivers who were more likely to drink and drive were also more likely to text and drive, sometimes engaging in both unlawful and reckless activities at once.
  • It can wait.
    There is no text message or phone call conversation that is more valuable than your health and wellbeing, and that of those around you in other vehicles. Remember that anything you can do on your phone can wait until later. If there is a true emergency that requires your immediate attention, pull over to the side of the road when it is safe before using your phone; a parking lot is the ideal place to stop and take a call or send a text.
  • Save your money.
    Getting ticketed for texting and driving is a pricey way to get points onto your driving record, seeing as how easy it is to simply not do it. Here in the state of Texas, you are going to lose at least $200 to $500 in administrative fines, not to mention other related hidden costs and taxes. Protect yourself and your pocketbook by never using a cellphone behind the wheel. And remember: texting at a red light still constitutes an unlawful activity worthy of a ticket.

Litigation When Prevention Does Not Work

You can be the best, most-defensive, and most-responsible driver in the world and still get blindsided by a distracted driver. That is just how dangerous texting or talking while driving can be. If you have been hurt by a negligent driver, our Fort Worth car accident lawyers encourage you to call (817) 503-9200 and tell us what happened during a Complimentary Strategy Session. With our compassionate and tenacious legal counsel, it may be possible for you to get compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Go ahead and contact us today to learn more.