Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

Distracted Driving Is a Killer Habit

If you drive distracted, you are putting yourself at risk for a serious accident. Most people know that distracted driving is dangerous. In practice, however, it's easy to think you can multitask behind the wheel. However, statistics show that no one is "good" at distracted driving.

Anything that takes your attention off the road increases your chances of being involved in a car crash. As Florida auto accident lawyers, we have seen a sharp rise in collisions caused by driver distractions. Here are some sobering stats about this common killer of a habit.

What Statistics Can Tell You about Distracted Driving
Sometimes it's easier to understand and appreciate a risk when you can put it into perspective. Knowing the facts and figures behind distracted driving is an important wakeup call for many motorists.

  • According to the CDC, distracted driving kills eight people every day and injures another 1,161. This number is expected to climb.
  • Drivers under the age of 20 are at the highest risk for distracted driving.
  • In 2013, two out of five students had sent a text or email while driving within the last 30 days.
  • Young people who text behind the wheel are twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking alcohol.
  • Young people who text and drive are also more likely to drive drunk themselves.
  • At 55 miles per hour, your car can cross the length of an entire football field in the time it takes you to send one text.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10 percent of drivers age 15 to 19 killed in car accidents were distracted.
  • At any given time, about 660,000 drivers in the U.S. are on a cell phone.

Studies on multitasking also show that it's impossible for anyone to fully concentrate on more than two tasks at one time. According to neuroscientists, the brain is incapable of engaging completely in two or more tasks at once. Instead, the brain switches rapidly between the tasks, resulting in lower performance and less focus.

Interestingly, people who believe they excel at multitasking frequently perform the poorest on tests designed to measure multitasking ability. Research also shows that multitasking doubles the amount of time is takes to complete a task - something that is troubling in the context of driving, as any delay in a driver's reaction time can lead to a serious accident.

Tips for Avoiding Driver Distractions

Cell phones are a leading culprit of distracted driving, but distractions come in many other forms. Whether you're tempted to send a text, or you want to grab a quick bite behind the wheel, any activity that prevents you from focusing solely on driving is an accident waiting to happen. Avoid distractions by following a few simple safety tips:

  • Turn your phone off completely when you drive. If you can't hear it buzz or ding, you are less likely to glance at it.
  • Don't use your car as a dining room. It's tempting to eat and drive, but food pulls your attention (and your hands) off the road. Pull over and eat, or save your meal for home, where you're likely to enjoy it more anyway.
  • Disable blue tooth technology. Many of today's vehicles allow you to send and receive calls through your car's computer system. However, studies show that hands-free is not risk-free, and in some cases it's just as distracting and dangerous as using a handheld device.

If you're the parent of a teen or young adult, it's also important to practice what you preach. Keep your child safe behind the wheel by demonstrating smart behavior. Kids copy what they see. If they observe you texting or checking your email on the road, they will assume it's acceptable for them to do the same.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a car accident, speak to a Florida auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call the Law Office of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC for a free case evaluation.

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