Driving is a task that requires focus and our full attention in order to be done safely. Distracted driving is a serious problem that leads to collisions every year. But despite laws to address the issue, there are still far too many car accidents involving distracted drivers that leave people severely injured or killed.
This April is once again “Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dedicates to bringing attention to this dangerous driving behavior and ways that it can be reduced.
There are three main types of distractions, notes EndDD.org. Manual distractions move a driver’s hand off the steering wheel. Visual distractions move a driver’s eyes away from the road. And cognitive distractions move a driver’s mind away from the task of driving.
The dangers of cell phone use while driving
Texting behind the wheel is an example of all three types of distractions, and cell phone use is one of the most common types of distracted driving. Studies have shown:
- People who drive while talking on the phone are as impaired as driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%.
- Drivers using cell phones were 5.36 times more likely to be in a crash than drivers who were not distracted.
- When commercial drivers text behind the wheel, they are 23 times more likely to be in a crash or a near-crash.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has been actively taking part in Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It is running its “Park Your Phone” media campaign throughout the entire month. Law enforcement agencies are also pursuing high visibility enforcement of distracted driving laws for all of April.
The state hopes to reduce the incidence of distracted driving. In Oregon, from 2015 to 2019, there were:
- 23,783 crashes, 158 fatalities, and 23,403 injuries involving a distracted driver
- 1,920 fatal and injury accidents involving a driver reported to have been using a cell phone, resulting in 20 fatalities and 1,880 people injuries
- 151 crashes involving a driver age 16-18 using a cell phone, with no fatalities and 191 injuries.
It is illegal in the state to drive while holding and using any mobile electronic device. Violators can be fined or given the option of attending a Distracted Driving Avoidance course.
If you’ve been injured, talk to an experienced attorney
Any type of distracted driving is dangerous. Other examples include using a navigation system, adjusting controls on the dashboard, eating, drinking, and talking to passengers.
When a distracted driver causes a crash, people can be left with serious injuries. They need treatment, and medical expenses can add up very quickly. This can lead to financial stress, especially if they are unable to work because of their injuries.
Insurance companies are supposed to help but are mostly concerned about keeping payments low. The distracted driver who caused a crash may deny doing anything wrong. That’s why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side if you were hit by a distracted driver.
At Zbinden & Curtis, our attorneys build strong cases and fight aggressively for our clients to help them recover the financial compensation they deserve. If you’ve been hurt in Portland, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.