Who is Most Likely to Engage in Distracted Driving?
The simple answer to the question above is every person has the potential to engage in distracted driving, no matter their age or status in life. Distracted driving has become a way of life since smartphones became mainstream.
We are addicted to checking them on a regular basis and in doing so, we are distracted from the important job of driving our vehicles.
This presents a danger not only to us, but also to occupants in our vehicle and occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Driving can be a boring and mundane part of everyday life; but paying attention behind the wheel is the best insurance to avoid an auto accident and the costs of injury, death, and property loss.
And when you consider that Alabama is only one of four states that will look for any reason to blame you for causing your own auto accident under contributory negligence laws, that is even more reason to take make driving safely a serious matter.
Alabama Distracted Driving Accidents
No matter where you are, it is estimated that approximately one-quarter of auto accidents in the U.S. are the result of not paying attention behind the wheel.
In Alabama, the Department of Transportation estimates there was a crash every 200 seconds in our state in 2017 and 159,000 auto accidents recorded in the state, many caused by distracted driving.
The University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety found more than 1,089 individuals lost their lives in those crashes. At least 27% of crashes involved cell phone use in 2015, says the National Safety Council (NSC).
As a driver in Alabama, you have a more than one-in-three chance of being involved in an auto accident in your lifetime.
Other Forms of Distraction
Teenage drivers are often blamed for distracted driving. They do have a fatal crash rate three times greater than more mature drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with more than half of auto accidents involving teens caused by distracted driving.
Unfortunately, this age group is most likely to text while driving.
But not to be too unfair to teenagers, they grew up with electronic devices and need to learn to suppress compulsive use of the machines while behind the wheel. That is best taught by example. Parents – Please put your phones away when driving and your young children have a better chance of learning that important message.
But what about the rest of drivers, even those who did not grow up with smart phones?
How many of us have been caught distracted behind the wheel by doing the following:
- Talking to someone next to you, in the back seat, or disciplining children
- Changing the radio
- Putting on makeup
- Eating or drinking
- Being lost in thought for whatever reason
- Taking a selfie
Distraction takes a few different forms, and all three are used during texting:
- Manual distraction – Hands move off the wheel.
- Visual distraction– You focus off the road.
- Cognitive distraction– Your mind wanders from the task of driving.
It only takes a second of inattention to not see a stop sign, a child darting in front of your vehicle, or a bicycle that swerves in your path.
Your Alabama Distracted Driving Attorney
As you probably realize, electronic records can be traced and whether you or the other driver was on their phone during the time of the accident, this can be traced.
Under Alabama law, it is illegal to text while driving, and that includes reading an email, or responding to an instant message. If you need to reply to a text, pull the car over safely first. A violation can bring you an initial ticket of $25 up to $75 for a third or subsequent violations as well as points on your license.
Any auto accident involving distracted driving that leads to death or injury can result in a reckless driving or vehicular homicide charge.
In Alabama, the driver may have the phone in his hand to talk but blue-tooth technology is preferred to minimize distractions. And you can add an automatic message to your cellphone to have it send an automatic response that you are driving so you do not get any incoming messages.
J. Allen Brown is an experienced and compassionate auto accident attorney with a depth of experience investigating distracted driving cases. Allow him to advocate on your behalf or at least provide you with some guidance on your next step during this difficult time. He can be reached at his Mobile office at 251-220-3199, or you can message the firm online.
Drive Safe Alabama