One of the most frequent sources of personal injury cases is the all-too-common motor vehicle accident. Vehicle accidents can cause excess amounts of injury and property damage; and unfortunately in some cases, they result in death. Many of these accidents are caused by distracted drivers who are trying to do several things while driving. Driving requires a driver's full attention, and distractions like phone calls and text messages can result in disaster. According to the FCC, distracted driving results in 18% of fatal crashes. Distracted driving also contributed to 421,000 injuries in the year of the study. Texting while driving The FCC also reports that 11% of drivers from ages 18-20 who were in an accident also admitted to sending or receiving texts when the accident occurred. Texting and driving is an unhealthy and destructive habit for young drivers to develop.
Most states already have regulations and laws against using phones, wireless devices and the like while on the road, though there is no current national stance as of yet. Maryland State law specifically prohibits phone usage while on the road, in an effort to prevent more accidents from occurring.
How You Can Avoid Distracted Driving
It is important to be careful while on the road. You don't want to let anything take your eyes off the road. A lapse in concentration for even just a few seconds can cause an accident. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind to avoid distracted driving:
- Turn Off Your Phone: The simplest way to not receive calls or texts is to keep your phone off while on the road. You will not receive any calls or texts, and can turn your phone on after you have arrived at your destination to check your voicemail or text messages.
- Use "Do Not Disturb" Mode: Many phones have a "Do Not Disturb" setting. This setting usually blocks or ignores incoming calls, and will not alert you of any texts. Some may even have an auto-reply to alert whomever is texting or calling that you will get back later. Some of these messages can even be customized to say that you are on the road as well. This can be a great option for workers who have a lot of clients contacting them.
- It Can Wait: Always remember: it can wait! You don't need to attend to that call or text immediately. You can wait until you reach your destination.
- Pull Over or Stop in a Parking Lot: If, for whatever reason, it cannot wait, you should pull over to a safe area, or stop in a parking lot to operate your phone. This way you will be able to attend to whatever the matter is without endangering yourself or other drivers on the road.
- Talk to Your Kids: Texting an driving is very common among younger drivers. If you have a young driver in your family, be sure to stress the utmost importance of paying attention to the road at all times. Share the above tips with them, and set good examples by following them yourself.