One of the biggest problems on the road in Rhode Island is distracted driving. As technology becomes further advanced with each passing year, it results in more people getting behind the wheel and becoming distracted as they take their eyes, hands and attention in general off the road and focus on their cell phones, GPS systems and other technological devices. However, drivers can be distracted by other situations as well, such as a simple conversation with a passenger in their vehicle. This dangerous practice puts an increasing amount of people at risk each and every day. The best way to avoid distracted driving is to know the statistics and what you can do to avoid a potential disaster.
Rhode Island distracted driving accident lawyer
What is distracted driving? It is essentially any type of activity that takes a driver’s attention off of the actual task of driving. It can include any number of actions, such as talking on a cell phone, even while hands-free, eating, conversing with others in the vehicle, putting on makeup, drinking a beverage, adjusting the car stereo, using GPS or reading a map or picking up an object that was dropped. If you were injured in a distracted driving accident in Rhode Island, contact a distracted driving lawyer.
Reading a text takes the driver’s eyes off the road
Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of distracted driving is texting while behind the wheel. Merely reading a text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds. However, that can be extremely dangerous when there are other vehicles on the road and pedestrians crossing the street. Even for five seconds, if a car is traveling at 55 miles per hour, it can travel the full length of a football field. Texting and engaging in any other type of activity that takes your full attention off the task of driving can make for an extremely dangerous situation as it increases the risk of an accident.
Types of Distraction While Driving
As already mentioned, distracted driving can take many forms. There are three general types of distracted driving. They include the following:
• Manual: Manual distracted driving occurs when a person removes their hands from the steering wheel to do something else
• Visual: Visual distraction is any activity that takes the driver’s eyes off the road as they focus their view on something else
• Cognitive: Cognitive distracted driving involves the driver’s focus being shifted elsewhere when it should be on the road
Consequences of Distracted Driving
Sadly, there are as many as 3,287 lives lost on a daily basis as a result of car accidents. However, on average, nine of those result from distracted driving and are completely preventable if drivers would avoid distractions. In 2016, 3,450 people were killed in accidents involving a driver who was distracted. In 2015, there were 391,000 injuries sustained by people in car accidents with distracted drivers.
Teens are the largest group of people who are involved in distracted driving as they tend to use their cell phones most while driving. Additionally, teens are the largest group to be involved in fatalities stemming from distracted driving car accidents. Scarily, texting while driving, in particular, is a problem that has even become more dangerous than drunk driving. This is largely due to the alarming statistic of a person who is texting while driving being 23 times more likely to cause a road accident. If you were injured in a texting and driving accident, contact a distracted driving lawyer ri.
Drivers 20 and younger are the most at risk of getting involved in a car accident resulting in fatalities due to distracted driving. According to the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), 42 percent of high school students in 2015 claimed to have sent a text or email from their smartphone while driving. Additionally, the survey found that these young people were also more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking, less likely to wear a seatbelt and more likely to drink and drive themselves.
Many states throughout the country have taken measures to curb the problem of distracted driving. Laws that ban using a handheld cell phone and texting while driving have been enacted. As of June 2017, 14 states and the District of Columbia banned drivers from using cell phones in the hand. During that same time, 46 states and the District of Columbia banned the practice of texting while driving.
Injured in a car accident in Rhode Island
If you have been injured in a car accident that resulted from distracted driving, you will probably want to file a personal injury lawsuit. It’s important to get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to get valuable guidance and to start your suit. Texting while driving is distracted driving. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about nine people are killed daily by distracted drivers. About 1,153 are injured. Sending, reading and typing SMS messages is by far the most dangerous form of distracted driving.
The big three distractions
The CDC relates that there are three primary types of distraction while driving. Those are:
- Visual when you take your eyes of the road
- Manual when one or both of your hands are off of the steering wheel
- Cognitive when you’ve taken your mind off of driving or have become inattentive
Texting while driving is the most dangerous distraction
Other types of distracted driving might include grooming, smoking, eating or using a GPS system, but texting while driving is the most dangerous since it requires the person texting to use all three forms of distraction at the same time. According to the Virginia Tech Traffic Institute, just reaching for a phone while you’re driving triples the chances of getting into an accident. The average time that your eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, you travel the length of a football field in those five seconds. Texting while driving so dangerous that 40 states plus the District of Columbia have banned it.
The National Safety Council stands by its numbers on texting while driving. It relates that 28 percent of all accidents involve texting. Reaction time is drastically increased to longer than that of a person who is driving with a .08 blood alcohol content. As per the Virginia Tech study, a person who is texting while driving is six times more likely to get into an accident than a person who is driving drunk. Texting while driving isn’t only dangerous to other drivers. Last year, over 1,000 pedestrians are believed to have been injured by texting drivers.
Reading SMS messages while driving injures or kills
It’s quite clear now that sending, typing and reading SMS messages while driving injures or kills. Contact our RI personal injury law office for a free consultation and case evaluation if you or somebody close to you was injured or killed by a distracted driver in Rhode Island or Massachusetts . We’re experienced, successful and aggressive, but we’re also compassionate and understanding.
People will engage with their cell phones
Modern technology has made life easier in many ways. However, with any advance in technology there is also the potential for abuse or misuse. Society has to balance the benefits with the drawbacks of any change in technology or culture. One perfect example of a beneficial technology that also causes harm is texting (distracted driving). The ability to send text messages between phones makes communication faster and more streamlined. Unfortunately, being in constant contact also leads to the potential for distraction. Distraction at work isn’t a huge problem, but distraction on the road is. People will engage with their cell phones when they should focus on the road instead. That can create a dangerous situation for everyone.
No, You Can’t Check Your Phone Safely On the Road
While you may feel like you can check your phone safely without issue, the truth is you can’t. It is very difficult to judge your own distraction or impairment behind the wheel. Taking your eyes off the road even for a few seconds can be incredibly dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looking at your phone for 5 seconds to read or type a text message could cause a crash. At 55 miles an hour, you will travel roughly the length of a football field in that time. It’s easy to see how traveling that far at high speeds without looking at the road could lead to a crash. You may not notice a car stopping in front of you or a pedestrian who steps out into the road.
Distraction Kills Thousands Every Year
In 2016, at least 3450 people died due to texting at the wheel according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That means that hundreds of people die needlessly every month because people are checking their cell phones. In many cases, it isn’t the person who texts that ends up paying the price. People in other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists can all end up killed by someone distracted at the wheel. The distracted driver could face both criminal and civil consequences for a crash they caused. Even if that person deletes messages from their phone, cell phone records from the phone company will show what time they were sending and receiving texts.
Texting At The Wheel Is Illegal in Rhode Island
Rhode Island, like most other states, has traffic safety laws in place to protect the public. As technology and culture change, laws change too. As of 2017, Rhode Island has made texting at the wheel illegal. If you get caught texting behind the wheel, you could face a fine of $100. A first offense could also mean losing your license for up to 30 days. Second-time offenders face a fine of $150 and loss of their license for up to 3 months. 3rd or subsequent offenses involve a fine of $250 and a six-month suspension of Licensing. If the distraction resulted in a crash, criminal charges related to negligence could result. Additionally, the victim of the crash or their surviving family members may also have grounds to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the distracted driver.
Text messaging is convenient and practical
Quick communication through text messaging is convenient and practical. However, it does not have a place when you are operating a motor vehicle. For your own safety and the safety of others, you should always turn your ringer off and place your phone in the location within the vehicle where you cannot immediately access it while driving. Taking these simple steps can keep you and everyone else safer on the road.