April Has Been Declared Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Distracted driving is a serious issue that has concerned many U.S. traffic safety advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies in recent years.
To address the problems caused by this high-risk behavior, April has been declared Distracted Driving Awareness Month to raise public awareness and help prevent this dangerous driving behavior.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver’s attention is diverted away from driving and focused on another object or activity.
There are several examples of distracted driving, some of which include:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Texting or reading a text message
- Eating or drinking
- Applying making or grooming yourself
- Adjusting the radio or navigation system while driving
- Reaching for objects scattered throughout your vehicle
There are three types of distractions that drivers engage in:
- Manual distractions: A manual distraction is anything that causes you to take your hands off the steering wheel while driving. This form of distracted driving is dangerous because it severely affects the driver’s control over the vehicle.
- Visual distractions: A visual distraction occurs whenever a driver’s eyes are diverted away from the road and focused on another object. Visual distractions have a serious effect on your awareness of your surroundings while driving. This can delay your ability to effectively react to a sudden hazard.
- Cognitive distractions: A cognitive distraction causes a driver’s mind to focus on something other than driving. This can include talking to another passenger or reflecting on an issue that may be troubling you. Cognitive distractions preoccupy your mind and divert your attention away from the predominant task of safely driving your vehicle.
Many distractions, like using a cellphone, involve all three forms of distracted driving. Each form of distraction significantly increases your chances of being involved in a serious auto accident and should be avoided at all costs.
Why is Distracted Driving Dangerous?
In 2016, U.S. traffic fatalities surpassed 40,000 for the first time in nearly a decade, according to data collected by the National Safety Council (NSC).
The NSC’s report shows the number of people killed in auto accidents throughout the nation increased by 14 percent since 2014. This is the largest two-year increase in more than 50 years.
Nearly one in five auto collisions involve a distracted driver. In 2015, there were 24,089 crashes involving drivers who were distracted. This means a collision related to a distracted driver occurred every 22 minutes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
When you become distracted while driving, you spend an average of five seconds looking away from the road to focus on another object or activity.
If your vehicle was traveling 55 mph, you would have driven the distance of a football field during this time.
Distracted Driving has been Banned in Wisconsin
Distracted driving is illegal in Wisconsin. Any driver found to be occupied or engaged in an activity that interferes with his or her ability to drive a vehicle safely is prohibited.
Distracted driving is considered a primary offense by the state’s law enforcement agencies, which means you can be pulled over if a police officer suspects you of distracted driving.
The state has also outlawed cellphone use while operating a vehicle, which includes all handheld and hands-free phones.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey found that 88 percent of young millennials engage in at least one form of high-risk behavior, like distracted driving, each month.
Drivers ages 19 to 24 were nearly twice as likely as all other drivers to type a text message and send it while driving.
Dangerous behaviors like distracted driving can be easily avoided. You can do this by:
- Turning off your cellphone before driving
- Not eating while driving or eating before you drive
- Not multitasking while driving
- Addressing all adjustments, like navigation systems or seats or mirrors, before driving
- Finishing any grooming before you begin to drive
- Securing any children or loose objects before driving
By choosing to focus solely on driving and the road in front of you and resisting distractions, you are significantly improving the safety of U.S. roadways.
Dedicated Attorneys for Victims of Distracted Driving
Distractions can be tempting for drivers to engage in, especially on long-distance trips. However, the risk is too high and it only takes one instance for an accident with severe consequences to occur.
Those who have been injured or lost a loved one in a collision involving a distracted driver may have the option to file a claim to seek damages.
At PKSD, our Milwaukee car accident attorneys will provide you with a free consultation to review the terms of your collision and determine if you are able to file a lawsuit. If you are, all of the work of our injury lawyers in Milwaukee will be provided on a contingency fee basis and comes at no cost to you unless we recover compensation for your claim.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form if you have been injured in a car accident.