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NSC Designates April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Published April 14, 2014 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney
Ear piece phone while driving

Distracted driving results in millions of car accidents every year, and while most people know it’s wrong to use a cell phone in any way while driving, they do it anyway. The National Safety Council (NSC) has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to put the spotlight on a problem that is becoming an epidemic.

Most People Carry Their Cells Phones – Everywhere

Most people don’t leave home without their cell phones. They carry them everywhere they go – including the car. For many, it’s their primary source of communication. However, 25% of all car crashes involve cell phone use and thousands of people die needlessly every year because of it.

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the NSC is asking people to recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit, pledge to drive cell free and understand the dangers of cognitive distraction to the brain.

  • Hands-Free Devices Offer No Safety Benefit. Drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in a car crash, and the NSC estimates that 21% of all traffic crashes in the U.S. occur while people are talking on cell phones while driving.

Dashboard “infotainment” features such as text, talk, email and social media have been found to actually distract drivers – even though they are considered to be hands-free. The most effective way to drive safely is to recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit. That means keeping hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind on driving.

  • Pledging to Drive Cell-Free Can Make A Difference. Drivers engaged in cell phone conversations, handheld or hands-free, are cognitively distracted and can fail to see up to 50% of their driving environment, including stop signs, pedestrians and red lights. Pledging to drive cell free can make a difference. Make a pact with your family and friends to do just that.
  • Cognitive Distractions Are Dangerous. The brain can’t do two things at the same time so it “toggles” quickly between tasks. The activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to 1/3 when listening to or talking on a phone. The bottom line is that multi-tasking simply can’t be done while driving.

As part of Driver Distracted Driving Month, the NSC asks everyone to share its cell phone distracted driving information with others – as the problem is actually larger than most people realize.

50% of Fatal Car Crashes Involving Distracted Drivers Are Reported

Cell phone use that contributes to fatal car crashes is only reported in about 50% of cases according to analysis done by the NSC and the National Traffic Safety Administration’s (NTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

The reason for the underreporting is a basic lack of procedure between reporting agencies. Crash data is collected as the scene of the accident, recorded by police, compiled by state agencies and then uploaded into FARS.

Why We Ignore Doing What We Know Is Right

Most of us understand that driving takes our utmost concentration. Yet, we ignore what we know is right and use our cell phones anyway. Smart? No. Common? Yes. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey in 2012 that found that more than two in three drivers reported talking on their cell phone while driving at least once in the past 30 days. Nearly one in three report doing this “regularly” or “fairly often.”

Anyone who’s been injured by someone who was engaging in distracted driving should contact an experienced New York car accident attorney to find out if they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, permanent disability, mental impairment, earning capacity impairment, loss of profits, medical bills, repair or replacement of property and more.

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