A recent study by the Journal of Transportation Safety and Security concludes that distracted driving is at an all time high among young drivers.While this study focused on the younger generation that has grown up with smart phones, email, facebook, instagram and the rest, I would venture to guess that adult drivers are just as culpable for distracted driving. Pennsylvania, and the majority of States, have enacted laws against using your cell phone (without handsfree), which includes a ticket for texting, emailing etc. April is national distracted driving awareness month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign in an effort to put an end to this dangerous activity. So with all of these programs in place, the question is why are distracted driving accidents at an all time high?
There is no easy answer to the question, but in my opinion it is just too easy to drive distracted. As a society we all have attention deficit disorder – we cannot sit still, much less pay attention to driving our 1000 pound automobile. The reality is, the world has become more and more connected, most everyone has a “smart” phone, and cannot stand to just drive even for a minute. Next time you are on stopped at a red light, take a quick look at the other driver – I can almost guarantee that there will be people checking their phone. Think about that, people, both young and old, cannot stand to sit at a light without checking their social media, email or otherwise.
Phylum of Distracted Drivers
While the most common instance of distracted driving is from cell phone use, we cannot forget some of our other favorites, including:
- The Eater – drivers that cannot wait to shove some grub in their mouth
- The Makeup Artist – usually, but not always, the woman (or man) driver who needs to put on their “face” in AM traffic
- The Radio Station DJ – drivers that need to incessantly change the radio station every 30 seconds, usually done while staring at the dashboard
- The Stretch Arm-Strong – drivers that are reaching into the deepest, darkest crevice holding the wheel with a finger or knee, usually reaching for a dropped cell phone
These are just some examples of people that are on our roads on a daily basis, if you look around I bet you will see at least one of these distracted drivers everyday. As always, if you or a loved one are involved in a distracted driving accident contact the personal injury lawyers at KaplunMarx, our distracted driving lawyers have plenty of experience handling these types of car accident cases; even if the other driver denies being on their cell phone at the time of the accident, we have ways to determine if they were. While a story about being on the cellphone when involved in a car accident may change, technology allows for triangulation and detail about what the person was doing on their phone at the time of the accident.
The profiles of these people can often be humorous, but the truth is there are often terrible consequences that come from distracted driving accidents.There are countless stories about the horrible consequences of distracted driving accidents – Distraction.gov puts a human face behind the concept of what can happen when you don’t pay attention when driving. Watching these video’s should be mandatory for anyone who receives a citation for distracted driving, video’s of parents who have lost children because of a distracted driver is sobering and heart wrenching.
Suggestions to fix the distracted driving problem
- Stiffer fines – in Pennsylvania the citation for distracted driving is only a $50.00 fine
- Harsher penalties – losing you privilege to drive might act as a strong deterrent
- Education – when renewing your license and/or getting it for the first time, make it mandatory to learn about the dangers of distracted drivings, making them watch the above videos would be part of this education
- Technology – a way technology to block social media while driving?
There is no simple answer to solving the distracted driving epidemic. It seems like it is getting worse, not better, as we become more and more technologically advanced – but we all need to work toward a solution.