Driving in Pennsylvania can be dreadful depending on the traffic conditions, the weather or unexpected environmental hazards that distract from a person’s focus and visibility. People who do not put adequate effort toward focusing on what they are doing while they are driving are at a much higher risk of being involved in a serious car accident that could alter their life or that of someone else.
While the majority of people are familiar with statistics discussing the dangers of reckless behavior like speeding or texting while driving, many people still participate in such behaviors at some point or another.
Statistics from the NHTSA show that distracted driving claimed the lives of 2,841 individuals in 2018. Several hundred thousand more end up with serious injuries because of this behavior, and many of these injuries are permanent and debilitating.
These are just official numbers, however, and they are very likely underreported. But oftentimes, those who are involved in vehicle crashes will not admit to the police that they were distracted at the time of the collision. In some cases, a thorough investigation may be able to prove that a driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of an accident, but there are other instances when it is more difficult to connect these dots.
Texting while driving and similar types of electronic activity while behind the wheel are especially dangerous, because they distract drivers in three ways; manually, visually, and cognitively. This takes their entire focus away from the road, causing them to miss important details that may be happening, such as a motorcycle entering their blind spot or a pedestrian crossing the road in front of them.
To help illustrate just how dangerous texting while driving can be, the NHTSA says that if someone is driving down the highway at 55 mph and looks down at their phone and away from the road for just five seconds, it is comparable to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.
As we touched on earlier, although most people understand that distracted driving is dangerous, many still do it anyway. What it comes down to is that a lot of people have a “do as I say not as I do” approach to driving.
This is shown in a study conducted by AAA a few years back. In that study, 84% of those surveyed said that it was “unacceptable” for a motorist to send a text or email while driving. However, 36% of those same people admitted to having done it themselves during the previous month.
Implementing a Safe Driving Plan for Better Focus
Nationwide Insurance suggests that become more proactive about preventing distracted driving by implementing a safe driving plan. This personal commitment to driving safely can maintain some general practices but fluctuate in terms of detail each time a person drives.
For example, they may always commit to wearing their seatbelt, avoiding the use of electronic devices and staying sober each time they drive. Depending on the length of their drive and where they are going, people should factor in whether or not they will need to eat or program a GPS and make adequate time to do those things without multitasking while they are driving. They should also adjust their car to effectively meet their needs while they are driving, so they do not have to spend time manipulating things like the radio, climate controls and mirrors.
DriveSafer also reminds people that if they are a passenger in a vehicle, they also participate in responsible behavior to avoid creating a dangerous distraction for their driver. They should refrain from talking on their phone, stay out of the way of the driver and make sure their seat belt is fastened. Their behavior can help to encourage the driver to engage in responsible and safe driving practices.
Technology helped get us into this mess, and it can help get us out of it as well. Today, there are several smartphone apps that can be installed to help motorists stay focused when they are driving.
Major cellular carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all offer their own version of a “driving mode” app. Driving mode is similar to “airplane mode” in that it limits or blocks notifications for incoming calls, texts, and emails. After you have safely stopped the vehicle, you can turn driving mode off and all of your notifications will instantly appear.
There are also several apps that parents can install on the phones of their teen drivers to help prevent distractions, encourage them to stay within the speed limit, and discourage reckless driving. For example, Life Saver is an app that blocks phone use while driving, notifies a parent when a teen arrives at their destination safely, notifies a parent when their teen unlocks the app while driving, and rewards teens for good driving behavior.
Injured by a Distracted Driving in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Legal Help
In spite of our best efforts to stay focused on the road while driving, we unfortunately cannot control the actions of others. If you or a loved one suffered injury in a distracted driving accident, contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for assistance. Call our office today at 412-391-9860 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We look forward to serving you!