Help End Distracted Driving
April 2012 will be National Distracted Driving Month. Lawyers across the country will be joining in a nation-wide campaign to help end distracted driving. I am proud to say that I will be one of the many lawyers involved in this mission. We will be speaking to more than 100,000 students across the nation on the dangers of distracted driving.
What is distracted driving? Simply put, it is any non-driving activity that a person engages in that takes their attention away from focusing on driving. The most common thought of distraction is either talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. However, distractions can come in many other forms.
There are both internal and external distractions that can divert a drivers attention.Internal distractions occur inside the vehicle. They can include eating, drinking, talking to other passengers, changing the radio station, reading a map or any other activity inside the vehicle that takes away your focus.
External distractions occur outside the vehicle. They can include looking at other motorists, pedestrians, the scenery, trying to read a street sign or even looking at another accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, did you know:
- In 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver and about 448,000 people were injured.
- Among those killed or injured in these crashes, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries included cell phone use as the major distraction.
- The proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of a fatal crash has increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009.
How can you help avoid distracted driving? As the driver, you must commit to focusing on the road. Do not allow yourself to be affected by any of the internal or external distractions. As a passenger, if you see the driver engaging in any unsafe or dangerous behavior, you must speak up. You have the obligation to tell the driver what he or she is doing is unsafe because if you don’t, then you are only condoning unsafe driving.