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  • Galfand Berger Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Distracted Driving – It’s Not Just Texting

    By Richard M. Jurewicz, Esq.

    The concern among many parents is that their teenage children, who either drive their own car or are in a car with their friends, will be seriously injured in an automobile accident as a result of someone texting while driving.

    While we have all heard heart wrenching stories about accident fatalities involving people that were killed while either texting and driving or being struck by another driver who was texting and driving, distracted driving is not just limited to texting while driving.

    Distracted driving is any activity while driving a motor vehicle that could divert the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving.  Any type of distracted driving increases the risk of an auto accident and endangers the lives and safety of not only the driver but passengers in the car, pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles.  Distracted driving activities include not only texting but using a cell phone or smart phone, eating and drinking, grooming, reading maps, newspapers, magazines, using a GPS system, using or working on an IPad or PC and adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player.

    Any of these tasks that an operator does while driving automobile results in inattentive driving since essentially the driver is multi-tasking between driving a vehicle and engaging in self-satisfying tasks.

    Text driving, however, is not only the most common type of distracted driving, but it is also becoming the most fatal type of distracted driving, resulting in more automobile accidents than any other type of distracted driving.  The reason for this is that unlike changing a radio station, texting requires that a driver abandon visual contact with the roadway in an effort to manipulate keys on a phone for the purpose of sending or retrieving text messages.  Text messaging requires visual, physical and cognitive attention by the driver.  This is a recipe for fatal consequences.

    According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in 2011 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver compared to 3,267 the previous year.  In non-fatal accidents, 416,000 people were injured in 2010 that involved a distracted driver.  Statistically 18% of all injury accidents in 2010 were attributed to distracted related accidents.

    According to a study done by U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration text messaging while driving increases the risk of an auto accident 23 times more than driving while not distracted.  The reason for the increased risk of an accident while text messaging when driving is that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which at the speed of 55 M.P.H. is equivalent to driving blind the length of an entire football field.

    Distracted driving while using a cell phone also increases the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident.  According to a study done by the PEW Research Center on Teens and Distracted Driving, 40% of all American teenagers claim they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in such a manner that it put in danger the lives of the occupants of the vehicle.

    While laws have been passed that hold a driver criminally accountable for his or her distracted driving activities, this is more geared toward specific deterrence: to make sure the culpable distracted driver does not do it again.  However, efforts need to be made daily to change what is becoming a cultural acquiescence.  Our entire society needs to be constantly educated, reminded, warned and even chastised of the consequences of distracted driving.  The focus should not just be to those of us that are licensed drivers but anyone who may be in a vehicle with a potentially distracted driver.

    While the solution seems simple, the task is a constant reminder of the importance of educating all occupants of motor vehicles of the dangers of any form of distracted driving.

    The Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers of Galfand Berger Represent Individuals Injured in Auto Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

    The automobile accident attorneys at Galfand Berger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have represented many clients and their families that have fallen victim to distracted drivers.  When you or a loved one suffers injury or death as a result of a distracted driver, you may have the right to bring a lawsuit against the driver seeking compensation for medical expense, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses.

    Call Galfand Berger at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, we represent injured individuals throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, including the regions of Harrisburg and Allentown, and all of Southern New Jersey.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)