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How Can Distracted Driving Accidents Be Prevented?

Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes attention away from driving, such as speaking to passengers in your car, texting or talking on your mobile phone, tinkering with the navigation system, stereo, or entertainment system, eating and drinking or any other activity that diverts attention away from driving safely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that drivers who are distracted when driving and do not focus on the road are the primary cause of most accidents. These kinds of drivers not only injure themselves but are also a threat to passengers and other drivers on the road.

This danger is even greater in the case of teenagers. Of all the drivers, new teenage drivers have the highest rate of crash fatalities. They must develop safe driving habits that are free of distractions right from the beginning.

Distractions due to Technology

Today, vehicles come pre-loaded with various technologies meant to make the experience of driving a comfortable and pleasant one. These add-ons pose the hazard of distracting drivers from the most important aspect of being on the road-the actual driving.

Traveling has undoubtedly become much more convenient and enjoyable due to satellite radios, mobile phones, in-car DVD players, GPS systems, and much more. However, the use of these technologies as they were intended is vital.

It is crucial for the vehicle driver to refrain from using any of these devices when the vehicle is moving. In case their use is necessary, it should be done by a passenger in the car, or the driver should pull the car safely off the road and then operate the device.

Distractions by Passengers

Drivers working for organizations transporting other passengers, such as adults or kids with disabilities, are faced with another form of distraction. These drivers must receive specialized training to manage such distractions. It’s a wise idea to have a chaperone or assistant in the vehicle to handle passenger distractions. In all circumstances, the attention of the driver should always remain on the road.

In case passenger distractions are significant, the driver should pull over and handle the situation. The probability of a crash rises exponentially with every moment that the driver takes their attention away from driving.

Some suggestions to drive in a safer manner are as follows:

Use your mobile phone only in emergencies

Drivers should only use cell phones in exceptional situations when on the road. Even in such cases, the driver should pull over to the right shoulder to speak or text on the phone. Vital audio and visual cues, necessary to avoid an accident, can still be missed even when using hands-free devices.

Drivers should not engage in social conversations on their phones while on the road. In an increasing number of jurisdictions, doing so is against the law. A driver can get a ticket and be fined.

Pull over if you feel drowsy

The risk of an accident quadruples when the driver feels drowsy. According to a government study, 37 percent of drivers in the country have dozed off or actually slept at least one time since they started driving. In case you feel sleepy, pull off the road and sleep instead of trying to reach home at that time. You may never reach home if you don’t drive smart!

Restrict the number of passengers and activity level within the vehicle

In a majority of states, driver licensing regulations do not allow teenagers to drive with other teen passengers in the vehicle with them during their initial months of driving. It can create a hazardous driving environment if teen drivers travel with friends as novice drivers may focus on their friends, instead of the road.

Try not to eat while driving

Distracted driving should not be blamed on a busy lifestyle. While having breakfast in the car to school or work may seem like an excellent way to save time, it makes the driver focus less on the environment on the road. A significant cause of distraction is food spills.

Do not multi-task in a moving vehicle

People spend a significant amount of time in their cars. This makes it seem like a good idea to get small tasks done, such as speaking or texting friends or searching for music. But this is highly dangerous. Drivers should pay attention to the road as well as the other drivers around them. It’s logical to settle everything before commencing to drive.

Drive in a focused and safe manner

The objective of safe driving is to ensure that you and your passengers remain safe on the road. It has been shown in studies that individuals can only process a limited amount of information at any specific time. At times, people shift their focus back and forth to handle the various demands that occur when driving. Teenagers are much less experienced in driving, which can make distractions more deadly.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in CT

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash due to a distracted driver, you may be able to claim your rightful damages. To understand if you are entitled to receive compensation, consult a knowledgeable and dependable personal injury attorney at APEX Law Firm, LLC. Call us today at (860) 900-0900 or message us online for a free consultation.

How to Avoid Distracted Driving in Connecticut

It’s a fact that most serious accidents on our roads are preventable. There is a good reason we have traffic laws and safety guidelines for vehicles, but human and mechanical error can lead to dangerous and catastrophic crashes.

Keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road may seem like common sense, but failure to do either has become one of the leading causes of car crashes in the past several years. In fact, distracted driving has become so prevalent that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called the problem an epidemic.

How Big of a Problem is Distracted Driving?

In 2015 alone, distracted driving in the U.S. claimed the lives of 3,477 people and injured another 391,000. While most distracted drivers are teens and young adults, anyone can fall victim to the temptation of various distractions. What are some of the things we do other than pay attention to the road? Just a few of the most common driving distractions include:

  • Using handheld cell phones
  • Using hands-free cell phones
  • Messing with radios and GPS systems
  • Typing on laptops
  • Reading
  • Putting on make-up
  • Eating
  • Shaving
  • Speaking to other passengers
  • Rubbernecking or sightseeing

Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving

When you aren’t fully engaged in the act of driving, you are putting both yourself and others at risk. You not only need to have your eyes on the road at all times and your hands on the wheel, but your mind must also be on the task at hand.

Too many of us don’t appreciate the responsibility involved in getting behind the wheel of a car. Your safety, that of your passengers, and others on the road is at stake if you make even the slightest error in judgment. By putting all of your attention into the task at hand, you have the best chance making it to your destination as safely as possible. Here are eight ways that you can avoid distractions while driving.

  1. Turn off your cell phone. The most common cause of distracted driving accidents is people texting while driving. Other causes are looking at social media and speaking on the phone. If you can’t turn off your cell phone in the car, put it on silent, or just put it away.
  2. Groom at home. If you have to put on makeup and shave in the car, you might want to give yourself some more time at home in the morning. Not only are you making a mess in your car, but you are also not paying attention to the task of driving, which is dangerous.
  3. Let your passengers help. Ask your passengers for help to avoid distractions while driving. Let them respond to an important text, change the radio station, or enter some GPS coordinates.
  4. Avoid stress. Wouldn’t we all like to live a stress-free life? Of course we would, but this is especially important in the car. Avoid heavy conversations while driving and ask young children to keep the play reasonable.
  5. Harness the pets. We all love our pets, and some of them get excited for car trips. Furry friends roaming inside a vehicle can be a major distraction when you are trying to drive. Instead, put a safety belt on your pet or keep them in a carrier for the ride.
  6. Skip the drive-through. Eating and driving might save you some time, but it’s distracting. It’s even more distracting when you spill coffee down your shirt or have to dig for a wayward french fry on the freeway. If you must pick up food, let it wait until you reach your destination.
  7. Map out your route in advance. It’s nearly impossible and incredibly dangerous to stare at a map while you’re driving. Do what you can to visualize your route or enter your GPS coordinates before you get moving.
  8. Stop rubbernecking. We get it. Accidents and people being pulled over by the police are interesting. They are also distractions that could cause you to create your own scene. In the interest of safety, keep your eyes on the road ahead and wait to look up the details of the incident online when you get home.

When Distracted Driving Accidents Happen

Even with all the precautions in place, accidents still happen. You might be 100% engaged while another driver is distracted, causing a serious crash. If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident in Connecticut, The APEX Law Firm, LLC understands your hurt and frustration. Contact us today at (860) 900-0900 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Should Technology Companies Be Held Accountable for Distracted Driving Accidents?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that distracted driving has now become an epidemic. In 2014 alone, 3,179 Americans were killed in distracted driving-related accidents. The number of injuries related to these accidents each year, more than 390,000, is astronomical and continues to grow. While drivers choose to stare at their phone, surf the net, or send text messages while driving, some now wonder whether or not technology companies should be held responsible for these tragic accidents.

Blaming Tech Companies for Distracted Driving Accidents

Can a technology company, such as a smartphone maker, be held liable for a distracted driving crash? That very question was raised in a series of lawsuits filed against Apple and other tech companies following some devastating and often fatal distracted driving accidents.

In 2013, 20-year old David Riggs was killed in Oakdale, Minnesota when his scooter was struck by a distracted driver. The driver of the other vehicle had been texting on his iPhone. The victim’s father, Craig Riggs, filed suit against Apple claiming that the technology company could have prevented the accident.

In December 2016, Apple was sued once again following a fatal distracted driving accident in Texas. A 5-year-old girl was killed after the vehicle in which she was riding was struck by a driver who was using FaceTime on his iPhone. The lawsuit also claims that Apple had the ability to stop users from using their phones while driving, yet chose not to do this.

In a similar sort of case, but not involving Apple, a Texas family is suing ridesharing company Lyft for failing to prevent a deadly distracted driving accident. In October 2015, the Edwards family called an Uber to take them to an engagement party. The Uber driver, who also drives for Lyft, tried to accept a Lyft ride while en route to their destination. While distracted with his phone, the driver caused a tragic accident, killing two passengers and injuring several others. A lawsuit was filed against Lyft alleging that the company failed to design and release a safe app.

Technology to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents

It would be difficult to hold technology companies accountable in these cases or even allege fault if there were no way to prevent distracted driving. The allegations raised in each lawsuit to date point out exactly the opposite. The fact is that these technology companies do have the means to prevent these dangerous crashes, using technology, and they choose not to use what they have.

According to a New York Times report published last year, Apple owns a patent for technology that was designed to prevent texting while driving. They’ve just decided not to use it. Apple, along with wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T, even caution against distracted driving and its dangers, meaning they understand the risks that these products and technology pose on the road.

Even the National Safety Council (NSC) became directly involved as early as 2012 when they sent a letter to the nation’s major wireless carriers. In the letter, the NSC asked carriers to prevent drivers from using technology while driving. This request was ignored. The suit involving Lyft claims that technology exists to prevent the app from running while others are in play, which would have prevented this distraction.

Hands-Free vs. Hand-Held Smartphone Use

Some technology companies argue that they have produced ways to make their devices safe with hands-free use. Instead of disabling devices while in a vehicle, a consumer can control them “hands-free.” Unfortunately, not having a device in-hand doesn’t solve the problem or make driving safer.

When driver’s use voice control with their smartphones, they are just as distracted as they are when they are holding them, sometimes more so. When dictation isn’t accurate, this can lead to even further frustrations while someone is driving. In the end, it’s not the driver’s hands that are distracted, but rather their brain.

Liability in Distracted Driving Cases

Of the cases we named, and several other similar ones still pending, no technology company has yet been found responsible for a distracted driving accident. While there are some apps that a user can download to stop technology use while driving, these are voluntary and unlikely to solve the underlying problem.

It is just a matter of time before one of these cases is heard and makes its way to a jury. If you or a loved one have been impacted by a distracted driving accident in Connecticut, contact the experienced distracted driving accident attorneys at The APEX Law Firm, LLC to protect your rights and discuss your legal options. Contact us today for your free consultation in Hartford County at (860) 900-0900 or visit us at www.apexlawfirmct.com.