man using phone while driving the car

Causes of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a huge issue in New York and other parts of the country. We all live busy lives. This hustle and bustle causes many drivers to try to multitask. As a result, they end up causing serious car accidents.

Driving is a privilege that requires an immense amount of responsibility. It requires the person in control of the vehicle to pay attention to the roadway at all times. Talking on the phone, texting, reading, applying makeup, adjusting the radio and eating are all tasks that take our focus away from what is happening on the road. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can cause you to crash into a tree, pole, building or another vehicle. The result could be long-term injuries or even death.

Types of Distracted Driving

There are three types of distracted driving – visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distracted driving involves taking your eyes off the road. This may occur if you are talking to a passenger, changing the radio station, texting, reading, or looking for something in the vehicle. Manual distracted driving involves taking your hands off the wheel. You may do this to text, answer a phone call, or eat while driving. Cognitive distracted driving means taking your mind off driving. This may occur when you are talking on the phone, talking to a passenger, driving while upset, daydreaming, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

To avoid distracted driving, pull over to read directions or make phone calls. Put your phone on “Do not disturb” mode. Do not reach for items while driving. Stop if you are hungry and need to eat. Do not drive if you are upset. Keep your eyes on the road and stay focused.

Texting is especially problematic because it averts a driver’s attention to a phone for a minimum of five seconds. This is equivalent to driving across a football field with your eyes closed.

Distracted Driving Statistics

 With people becoming more and more attached to their smartphones, distracted driving is on the rise and becoming more serious. It affects hundreds of thousands of people every year. In 2016, 3,450 people in the United States were killed by distracted driving. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in accidents involving distracted driving crashes. Another 391,000 people were injured by distracted drivers.

Of all age groups, teens are most likely to engage in distracted driving. Because teens are inexperienced drivers, this is a serious issue. This is also concerning because teens are more likely to take risks. They are less likely to wear a seatbelt, more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking, and more likely to drink and drive. These factors combined make driving risky for teens.

Between 2011 and 2016, there was a 981% increase in tickets issued for texting while driving in New York. Even though number of tickets issued for cell phone use has declined in recent years, the number of the tickets issued for texting while driving has increased every year since 2011. In fact, it has grown 10 times since then, from 9,043 tickets in 2011 to 92,097 tickets in 2016.

In 2015, 160 people were killed due to distracted driving in New York. Another 33,000 people in New York were injured due to distracted driving. Each year, as many as 22% of injury and fatal crashes had “driver inattention/distraction” listed as a contributing factor.

Under New York State law, a first offense for distracted driving results in a fine of $50-$200. Probationary drivers will also have their license suspended for 120 days. A second offense in an 18-month period results in a fine of $250. A third offense in 18 months bumps up the fine to $450.

Get Legal Help from a Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer

Distracted driving is a serious issue. Driving requires full attention to the roadways at all times. When a person is distracted by other things, it can lead to serious accidents.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed by a distracted driver, it is a good idea to seek legal help. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum can assess your case and help you recover compensation for damages caused by the liable party. Call our Brooklyn office at (718) 237-5586 to see how we can help.

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