Distracted driving is dangerous; we all know this. There are billboards and radio ads warning against it. There is research and data that supports it. We have written about the dangers ourselves, and represented clients who have sustained horrific injuries as a result of it. Yet every day, people are dying as a result of distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2016. Distracted driving includes any conduct by a driver that:
- Takes the operator’s hand(s) off the steering wheel
- Takes the driver’s eyes off the traffic in front of or around the driver
- Prevents the driver from fully concentrating so that emergencies can be handled
By and large, cell phone usage is the greatest distraction there is. Texting and driving is a real problem, but it is not the only one: using your smartphone for a GPS, or scrolling through social media sites, or trying to access a playlist is just as dangerous. In fact, even talking on the phone can increase your risk of a crash.
Any of the following activities can also easily cause a driver to become visually, manually, or cognitively distracted and cause a car accident:
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming (like shaving, or putting on makeup)
- Adjusting the car radio
- Talking to other passengers, especially those in the back seat
- Trying to restrain young children
Distracted driving also includes operators who drive while intoxicated or who drive while tired. Drivers who aren’t in control of the vehicle are a danger to passengers, other drivers, and anyone on or near the roadways.
Mississippi’s problem with distracted driving
In 2017, Mississippi earned the dubious distinction of topping the list of people who use their cell phones while they drive. MS News Now reported that “According to Life360, Mississippi drivers use their cell phone while driving an average of 2.56 times per drive. The national average comes in at 1.78 per drive.” The Life360 data also revealed:
- 67% of people in the US “feel ‘at risk’ because of others’ use of technology while driving.”
- 25% of those surveyed admitted that their own use of technology was dangerous.
- 47% of drivers feel comfortable to text while they drive, or to use voice controls.
Teenage drivers are especially prone to drive while distracted. Many teens are just not mature enough to appreciate how deadly or serious an accident can be. They mistakenly think their reflexes and youth can help them get out of traffic jams.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a Mississippi car accident, the lawyers at Merkel & Cocke, PA have the experience you need to protect you. For help with you distracted driver claim, please call us at 662.799.1633 or use our contact form. We serve the entire Gulf Coast region from our law offices in Clarksdale, Oxford, and Jackson.