The Consequences of Distracted Driving
All of us have done it or know someone who does: texting, messaging, or browsing while driving.
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey.
According to Distraction.gov, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes.
In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the US Government’s Official Website for Distracted Driving.
Why do we do it? According to a recent New York Times article, AT&T suggests that the behavior has addictive qualities, meaning drivers cannot help themselves.
The article discusses distracted driver Ashley Kubiak, who sped down a Texas highway in her Dodge Ram truck. She checked her iPhone for messages. Distracted, she crashed into another car, killing its driver and a passenger and leaving a child paralyzed.
Ms. Kubiak was convicted of negligent homicide and sentenced to probation. Her lawyer says she now keeps her phone in the back seat so she’s not tempted to use it.
Casey Feldman was just 21-years old when she was struck by a distracted driver in July 2009. The driver was reaching across the center console for a drink when Casey was struck. Casey was a pedestrian in a crosswalk during daylight hours. A college senior—Casey died five hours later. Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, a fellow trial lawyer and safety expert, founded End Distracted Driving, an education program that presents at schools nationwide to teach the dangers of distracted driving.
So how do we protect our families? There are many applications we can use. Drivemode can stop incoming texts. Learn more about the issue. Write to your senator, legislature, and the companies themselves, and require the device makers install software that protects us. Call us and we will ask End Distracted Driving to come to your children’s school and present.