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  • April: Distracted Driving Awareness Month

    man using cell phone while drivingDistracted driving poses a significant threat to public health; each year, approximately 3,000 people lose their lives in car accidents involving distracted drivers. To combat known dangers, the National Safety Council (NSC) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsor Distracted Driving Awareness Month every April. One of the campaign’s primary missions is to share the message, “When you’re behind the wheel, your only job is to drive.”

    What is Distracted Driving and How Often Does It Happen?

    Whether you know it or not, you have probably engaged in risky, distracted driving behaviors behind the wheel at some point or another. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system – in other words, any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving safely. Distracted driving happens every day – and every day, about nine people lose their lives because of it. The NHTSA reports that texting is one of the most dangerous types of distraction, since sending or reading a message can take a driver’s eyes off the road for about five seconds. In those five seconds, a vehicle going 55 mph will travel the length of a football field – and remember, that’s distance traveled while the driver is not looking at the road.

    There were 3,142 motor vehicle deaths associated with distracted driving that were reported to the NHTSA in 2020. For 2021, the agency is projecting as many as 3,522 fatalities. In addition to thousands of deaths, distracted driving is also the culprit behind hundreds of thousands of serious injuries each year. In 2020, over 324,000 Americans sustained injuries from distracted driving-related crashes. It is also important to note that although 3,142 people lost their lives from distracted driving accidents in 2020, there were not an equal number of crashes. In fact, there were 2,880 collisions resulting from driver distraction. This means that some of the crashes caused multiple deaths that involved other vehicles. For nearly eight years now, distracted driving has accounted for somewhere between eight and nine percent of annual traffic deaths, which is why it continues to be a significant public health concern.

    Ways to Stop Distracted Driving

    There are various countermeasures targeting distracted driving that are in place across the country. Countermeasures are things like legislation, enforcement, promoting behavior changes, and more. For example, 48 states have laws in place that ban texting and driving. Enforcement measures, like increasing police surveillance and fines and ticketing, have also proven to be useful. One of the best ways to end distracted driving, however, starts with every driver and makes a difference every time they get behind the wheel. Here are ten of the NHTSA’s top tips for how drivers can manage some of the most common distractions:

    • Turn it off and put it away. Turn your phone off or put it on silent mode before you get in the car. Then, make sure to put it away so it is out of reach and there is less temptation to use it
    • Spread the word. Record a message on the phone that tells callers that you are driving and will get back to them when you are off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature
    • If you need to make a call, pull over! Make sure you are in a safe area and not endangering anyone else on the road
    • Use your passengers to make a call or respond to a text for you
    • X the text! Do not EVER text and drive, surf the web, or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and it is against the law in almost every state. Even voice-to-text is not safe and comes with significant risks
    • Get familiar with the law. Learn about your state and local laws before you get in the car. Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting
    • If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer using a map or written directions, review them before starting your trip. If you need help while you are driving, ask a passenger or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or to review your map or written directions
    • Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car
    • Mind the kids. Make sure you pull over to a safe place to address situations that involve children in the vehicle
    • Focus on driving. Remember, multi-tasking behind the wheel is extremely dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your eyes and/or mind off the road

    Were You Involved in an Accident?

    If you or one of your loved ones was injured in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, someone at our firm can help. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing car accident victims. Here are just a few examples of our firm’s results:

    • Our client sustained fatal injuries after hitting the rear end of a construction truck after it attempted to pull onto a highway at night from an unmarked turnaround. Our attorneys successfully settled the matter for $2,000,000.00 in favor of our client’s loved ones. You can read more about this recovery here.
    • Our client was left paralyzed after sustaining injuries in a major crash. Our attorneys pursued the case not only against the at-fault driver who struck our client, but also against the auto manufacturer for defective seat belts and crash-worthiness of the vehicle. We recovered $4,500,000.00 for our client. If you would like to learn more about this recovery, click here.

    To speak with someone about filing a claim for your injuries, contact a representative online now who can help.

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)