Most people mistakenly assume distracted driving only affects teens or poor multitaskers. A driver is considered distracted for the purposes of distracted driving if they are performing any activity that pulls their attention away from driving the vehicle. All of the following have been identified as sources of distracted driving:
- Making a call on a cell phone or smart phone
- Applying makeup, brushing hair, shaving
- Reading a map
- Using a car’s navigation system
- Watching TV or video
- Adjusting a stereo, or other audio device
Risk Factors and Statistics
- In 2014, 3,179 people were killed as a result of distracted driving; more than 400,000 were injured.
- Teens are most at risk: 16% of all distracted driving accidents occur among drivers less than 20 years of age.
- Drivers who assume their hands-free conversations are safe should know that research has indicated that cognitive distractions may cause drivers to miss visual and audio details that may help avoid a collision.
Useful Apps and Gadgets
To combat distracted driving, some cell phone services offer safe driving modes for their smartphones. The AT&T Drive Mode app is available for all carriers on Android & iPhones and it’s automatically signaled by the speed of your car. Speeds greater than 15mph will activate this free service, stopping all texts from coming through.
Most new cars offer integrated Bluetooth features to help drivers keep their hands free and on the steering wheel. For drivers without these built-in features, the Parrot Minikit is a great alterative. This small device clips to a sun visor and is voice activated. Send texts, make calls, and search for contacts without ever reaching for the phone.
For teen drivers, the LifeSaver App is a great way to limit distracted driving. Parents can block phone use while teens are driving, and track their teens to ensure they reach their final destination.
Other types of distracted driving like grooming, eating, and navigation, are easily avoidable if drivers commit to planning ahead.
Grooming activities like brushing hair, applying makeup, and shaving are best performed outside of a moving vehicle. If you must perform these tasks in the car, wait until you’ve arrived at your destination, park the car, and proceed.
The same is true of eating or drinking in a vehicle. No time crunch is so severe that it is worth risking your personal safety, or the safety of others who share the road. Use caution if you decide to eat or drink in a car.
Always park a car to adjust navigation settings. If you must use a navigation system, do not attempt to use it while the car is moving. Knowing how to get to your destination before you get in the car is a great way to plan ahead and avoid distracted driving.
In 14 states, hand-held cell phone use has been banned and is considered a standard offense. In other words, if a distracted driver hits you, the legal repercussions may be more severe than if it were a simple car accident.
To contact a Taos Lawyer near you, please fill out the form on this page.