The National Safety Council (NSC) has declared that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in order to try to inform the public of the dangers of distracted driving.
Our Queens injury attorneys know that the public education and enforcement campaign by NSC is not the first, as there have been ample initiatives in recent years to show that distracted driving is really dangerous. There have also been laws passed to ban texting for at least some drivers in 39 states and to ban hands-free cell phone use in at least 10 states.
So, how effective are Distracted Driving Month and other anti-distraction initiatives? Unfortunately, recent data suggests that all of the efforts to curb distracted driving have had minimal impact on changing people’s behaviors. While the vast majority agree that texting/cell phone use while driving is dangerous and 74 percent agree that bans are appropriate (94 percent if the ban is on texting), the sad fact is that hundreds-of-thousands of drivers throughout the U.S. still make the dangerous choice to drive while focused on something besides the road.
Dangerous Distracted Driving Behaviors Continue
To determine how many people are driving while distracted, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conducted many different surveys over the years. NHTSA recently reported on its 2012 National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t good.
According to the NHTSA surveys of more than 6,000 respondents ages 16 and up, around ½ of the drivers interviewed said that they’d pick up a call when they were driving. Around one out of every four drivers said they’d make a call. This reflects little difference from the responses that drivers gave when they were surveyed about this issue in 2010. Unfortunately, this means that drivers aren’t changing their behaviors and are continuing to use their cell phones as they drive.
With the data on the number of drivers who text and drive, NHTSA was able to make projections about the number of people throughout the U.S. who may be engaging in risky behavior with wireless devices. According to NHTSA’s calculations, as many as 660,000 drivers in the U.S. at any given moment during the daytime may be on their cell phones or may be manipulating electronic devices as they drive. So, any time you get in the car to go anywhere, you need to think about the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people who may be sharing the road with you and who may not be paying attention to where they are going or what they are doing.
Unfortunately, until this number of drivers on cell phones is significantly reduced, accidents are going to continue to happen. In 2011 alone, 387,000 people got hurt and more than 3,300 people got killed as a result of distracted driving accidents. These are thousands of lives that were ruined and families torn apart because of a need to use a cell phone when behind the wheel.
Don’t become one of those victims and don’t engage in dangerous driving behavior that leads to you causing a crash and hurting others. Instead, take the NSC’s pledge to drive cell free during this Distracted Driving month and live up to that pledge year-round.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations to those who have been injured in a traffic collision. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Speeding Driver Injures New York Schoolchildren Waiting for Bus, New York Injury Lawyer Blog, Feb 2013.
Queens Injury Lawyers Encourage Safe Spring Cycling in NYC, New York Injury Lawyer Blog, March 28, 2013.