Over 8 people are killed every day by distracted driving. A reported 1,116 people are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver every day. This is astonishing.
David Teater, of Spring Lake Michigan, lost his 12-year-old son to a distracted driver car accident in 2004. He set out to raise awareness about this issue, and decided to focus his efforts on the business community. Teater’s idea is that large companies with thousands of employees can institute bans on using cell phones while driving. The message then will trickle down into the employee’s private lives, and bring awareness and better safety habits on our roads.
In fact, it has been shown that starting at the company-level is a way to effectuate change. This is how wide-spread use of seat belts came to be. Employers began requiring employees to wear seat belts while driving on behalf of the company. Employees complied with the rules for fear of disciplinary action. As a result, researchers were able to collect data to show that people are significantly more likely to survive an auto accident when wearing a seat belt. As public opinion shifted, lawmakers stepped up and began passing seat belt laws.
ExxonMobil and Shell Oil implemented total bans on employee use of cell phones while driving over a decade ago. By 2010, the nonprofit National Safety Council found that 20% of Fortune 500 companies had policies in place that banned handheld and hands-free cell phone use by employees driving on company business.
Currently there is a trend in lawmaking deigned to address this critical public safety issue. To date, 46 states ban texting while driving and 37 states ban cell phone use by teen or novice drivers.
Devises to Help Prevent Distracted Driving
There are now devises designed to shut down certain smart phone features while driving. Groove by Katasi is a device that communicates with your wireless phone carrier to halt delivery of texts, emails, and social media updates, and prevents the driver from sending messages. It is a small devise that plugs into your car underneath the steering wheel. A similar devise is Cellcontrol, which restricts messaging applications on the phone for the driver or all passengers in the vehicle. The Cellcontrol devise is solar powered and mounts to the windshield behind the rearview mirror. These and similar devises can be used by companies and families to prevent distracted driving.
Further, many insurance companies will pay for cameras to be mounted in a teen driver’s car for their first year of driving. For example, American Family Insurance offers a Teen Safe Driver program. This and similar programs provide feedback to inexperienced drivers in order to help correct unsafe driving practices.
Distracted Driving Defined
Distracted driving is “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites three main types of distractions:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
Using a cell phone, texting, fiddling with the radio, or even eating while driving can cause distraction that endangers the driver and others on the road. However, texting is the most alarming distraction. NHTSA shares this frightening fact:
- Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction – taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and taking your mind off of driving.
In fact, Nebraska law prohibits texting while driving. Learn more about Nevada law and the dangers of texting while driving, read our article Fatal Crashes Caused by Distracted Driving & Texting On the Rise.
If you were involved in an auto accident in Nebraska that you suspect may have been the result of distracted driving, call our office today (402)558-4900 to schedule a free consultation.
Distracted drivers who cause accidents should be held responsible for their actions. Our compassionate attorneys are available to help answer your questions and begin the process of seeking justice in your car accident case. Read what our clients have to say about us here.