Teen Victims of Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving Reyes Browne ReilleyEach day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve distracted driving. Distracted driving killed 3,477 Americans in 2015, and injured 391,000. More than one-fifth, or 21 percent, of all teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 who were killed in accidents were distracted at the time of the accident.

Many teenagers are in near-constant contact with their friends on phones. But, cellphones and other electronic devices are a leading cause of distraction for drivers today.

Older, more-experienced drivers need to be careful to keep their attention on the road as much as teens. But, young people have less experience driving than most older Americans, and distracted driving can be even more dangerous.

In addition to electronics, drivers of all ages can have their attention taken away by food and drinks, conversations with other people in the car, or even events happening outside their vehicle.

What can you do to keep your teen safe? The best thing a parent can do to keep their child from becoming a victim or injured in a wreck caused by distracted driving is to talk to them about the dangers of distracted driving. Also, become familiar with local and state laws. Let your teen know what you – and society – expect from them, and what the penalties will be for violating the rules.

Best of all, lead by example. Never allow devices, people or anything else take your attention away from the road when you drive. Your child just may learn to do the same.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident due to another motorist’s distracted driving, contact the Dallas Texas attorneys at Reyes Browne Reilley for a free case review today!

Top 11 Findings in EverQuote Distracted Driving Report

Aside, Distracted Driving

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EverQuote fielded a national online survey to 2,300 licensed American drivers on their driving habits June 18–22, 2016. The survey found drivers are unaware of how often they are actually using their phone behind the wheel and have clear misconceptions about what it takes to be a safe driver. When the survey responses were paired with actual driving data from our safe-driving app, EverDrive, the discrepancies between perceptions and reality become even more surprising.

The survey was divided 52% female and 48% male. The survey was split by age as follows: 18–24 16%, 25–34 23%, 35–44 19%, 45–54 18%, 55–64 15%, 65+ 9%. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.2%.

We have summarized the major findings in the following EverQuote Distracted Driving Report:

1. The Impulse to Text Back Is Real and Dangerous

Americans feel the need to answer texts fast. In fact, 55% respond to text messages right away or within 5 minutes.

  • The majority of adults (83.9%) feel the need to answer text messages within an hour or less, while only 16.1% feel the need to respond after an hour or more.
  • Males and females generally feel the same way, and age has a slight influence in how quickly Americans feel the need to respond—with aging adults more likely to take longer to feel the need to reply than younger age groups.

2. Most Americans Think They’re Safe Drivers

  • Over 96% of respondents believe that they are safe drivers behind the wheel.
  • Slightly more male than female participants consider themselves unsafe drivers and age did not appear to be a major influence on responses.

3. Americans See Themselves as Safe, but Not Other Drivers

Americans overwhelmingly feel that they are safe drivers themselves, but they don’t see other motorists on the road in the same light.

  • Over 96% think they are safe drivers, but 37% think less than half of other drivers on the road are safe.
  • 86% of Americans feel neutral or disagree that the majority of drivers are safe behind the wheel (11% strongly disagree).
  • Younger adults tend to agree that drivers are unsafe more often than older age groups do.

4. Divided On App Prevention

Americans are divided on whether or not they’d let a mobile app control their phone use—52.4% of Americans would let an app prevent them from using their cell phones behind the wheel, and 47.6% say no way.

  • As Americans age, they are more likely to allow an app to prevent phone use while driving.
  • Older males, 65+, were more likely to say yes than the same-age females, whereas females aged 35-44 were 15% more likely to say yes than same-age males.

5. Americans Say They’re Safe Drivers, but Are They?

Though Americans overwhelmingly consider themselves safe drivers (96%), the majority of them admit to using their phones while driving in the past 30 days—61% have used their cell phones on some drives, most drives or every drive.

  • 6% every drive
  • 10% most drives
  • 45% some drives

While 56% report using their phone on at least some drives, 96% of drivers used their phones according to EverDrive data.

  • American drivers spend .4 miles on the phone distracted for every 11 miles driven. That equals 114 billion distracted miles, and 4.5 millions trips Americans could take around the world without looking up from their phones.

6. Speeding Isn’t Everything Over the Limit

  • Even though speeding 10 MPH over the limit can increase crash risk by up to 9.1%, over one-half of all driving time is spent at least 10 MPH over the legal limit.
  • The majority (42%) consider drivers to be speeding on the highway only if they’re 10-14 MPH over the speed limit. A scary 19% don’t see drivers as speeding until they’re 15-19 MPH over the limit.
  • 10% believe 20 MPH over the limit isn’t speeding.

7. Americans Feel States Should Do More

61% of adults believe that their state does not do enough to prevent phone use behind the wheel. Of these adults, 55% admit to some phone use while driving in the past 30 days, and 12% admit to using their phone on most or all drives.

  • Americans appear to know that using their phones while driving is dangerous and believe their state does not do enough to stop them from the bad habit—however, only a little over half (52%) are willing to allow a mobile app prevent them from that use.
  • For drivers that don’t care about the state, 30% admit to phone use on most or all drives.

8. Alcohol Is Still the Scariest Danger

The majority of Americans (55%) feel that seeing other drivers drinking alcohol behind the wheel is the scariest action, followed by phone use and speeding. However, the majority admit to using their phone and only see speeding as driving 10-14 MPH over the limit.

  • 20% see drivers using their phones as the scariest action to see another driver doing.
  • Only 2.6% view interacting with passengers as the scariest, even though 57% of distracted driving accidents are caused by passenger interactions.
  • 76% of phone users are scared of having an accident while using the phone behind the wheel.

9. Americans Know the Dangers of Distracted Driving

The majority of Americans recognize the danger of using their phones and are afraid of getting into an accident behind the wheel. The fear of being bad role models or getting caught by authorities is minimal.

  • 55% are afraid of getting into an accident

10. Americans Speak Up About Dangers

The majority of people (60%) state that they do ask a driver to stop using their phone if they’re feeling unsafe.

  • Females responded “yes” approximately 10% more than males.
  • Younger age groups have asked driver to stop phone use more often than older Americans.

11. Americans Think They’re Safer Than Self-Driving Cars

Despite the fact that experts predict self-driving cars will reduce crashes by 90%, 81% of adults still would feel safer driving themselves.

That perception may arise from the fact that the majority of Americans consider themselves safe drivers, despite the reality their behavior: how often they use their phones while driving and at what point they consider themselves speeding.

  • Females feel they are safer driving themselves than in a self-driving car slightly more than males feel and this belief increases with age for both genders.
  • Only 19% of drivers feel they would be safer in a self-driving car.

Distracted Driving Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries

Distracted driving can cause catastrophic injuries

HG.org defines a catastrophic injury as the “consequences of an injury that permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”

A catastrophic injury or illness usually occurs suddenly, without warning and can leave a person suffering from permanent disabilities for the rest of his/her life.

CatastrophicInjury1

Catastrophic injuries are any injuries that have serious, long-term effects on the victim. Catastrophic injuries can often put serious stress on the victim’s family because they may need constant supervision or assistance for the rest of their lives, as well as a lifetime of rehabilitation and medical bills.

If a catastrophic injury was caused by the negligent or intentional act of another, or by a dangerous or defective product, a personal injury claim by the victim will be an integral factor in determining his/her future quality of life, including the quality of the medical care and other support he/she will receive.

While some catastrophic injuries may heal over time, in the vast majority of cases these injuries stay with a person for the rest of his life and often prevent him from returning to work or from being able to perform basic tasks. Because of the nature of these injuries, victims are often entitled to much higher benefit claims than other accident victims.

Call us today to learn more about how we can help you or to set up a free consultation. Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas, Texas, based Martindale-Hubbell AV-Rated personal injury law firm. Our trial-ready Dallas personal injury lawyers have a nearly combined 100 years experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury, business, and dangerous prescription drug & device litigation.

Losing Battle Against Distracted Driving Forces Creative Solutions by Police

Reyes Law - Texting while driving - Dallas Texas

Distracted driving in the U.S. is a widespread and dangerous habit, practiced both brazenly and surreptitiously by so many motorists that police are being forced to get creative, but still can’t seem to make much headway.

For example:

In Bethesda, Maryland, a police officer disguised himself as a homeless man, stood near a busy intersection and radioed ahead to officers down the road about texting drivers. In two hours, police gave out 56 tickets.

State troopers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have been known to patrol in a tractor-trailer so they can sit up high and spot drivers texting behind the wheel.

In West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, an officer regularly pedals around town on his bicycle, pulls up to drivers at stoplights and hands out $105 tickets.

“It’s everyone, kids, older people — everyone. When I stop someone, they say, ‘You’re right. I know it’s dangerous, but I heard my phone go off and I had to look at it,’ ” said West Bridgewater Officer Matthew Monteiro.

Forty-six states have laws against texting and driving, typically also banning sending or reading email, using apps or engaging in other internet activity.

Fourteen states bar drivers from using hand-held cellphones at all, including talking.

Although more focus has been placed on distracted driving, the problem only seems to be getting worse.

New York Citations Issued:

2011 – 9,000

2015 – 85,000

Massachusetts Citations Issued:

2011 – 1,100

2015 – 6,100

In California, the number of people found guilty of texting while driving climbed from under 3,000 in 2009 to over 31,000 in 2015.

Although these figures seem high, it is important to realize how difficult enforcement is, in part because of the difficulty in proving texting violations in states that allow drivers to talk on hand-held cellphones.

Deterrent campaigns continue to evolve and range from media campaigns educating on the dangers of distracted driving, to the encouragement of defensive driving and even as far as some states increasing the penalties, including Louisiana, which raised its fine for first-time offenders from $175 to up to $500.

Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas, Texas, based Martindale-Hubbell AV-Rated personal injury law firm. Our Dallas car accident lawyers have a nearly combined 100 years experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury, business, and dangerous prescription drug & device litigation. Call us today for a free consult to find out more.

Thanks to: The Berkshire Eagle News

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Auto Accidents, Safe Driving

dangers-of-distracted-driving-300x200All of us have different distractions that we face while driving, the most common of them being our cell phones. No matter what the distraction is, distracted driving is dangerous, not only to us but to other drivers and passengers onthe road.

State Trooper Kills Two In Tragic Accident

Kimberly Schlau of O’Fallon, Illinois witnessed the tragedy distracted driving can cause, when her two teenage daughters were killed instantly by a distracted state trooper. The trooper is believed to have been speeding to another crash and on his phone and on-board computer simultaneously when he struck the girls’ car. To honor her daughters’ memory, Schlau set up a foundation to provide educational opportunities to others in Southern Illinois. However, she is reminded each day what a dangerous and deadly act distracted driving is.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States at least 9 people are killed each day in accidents involving at least one distracted driver, while more than 1,150 are injured. Schlau now takes time to visit police departments all over to talk to them about her daughters’ story. This is to help new and current officers realize that no matter the situation, they still need to work to keep others safe. She hopes her story will inspire officers to do more to be the safe drivers they want us to be.

When we are behind the wheel, we never realize the impact our actions could have. Each day, Schlau sees her daughters’ friends growing into women, while her girls will always stay the same age. Her youngest daughter has had to grow up without the guidance of her older sisters, and even their family pets felt the loss of loved ones. By one person’s actions, the Schlau family will never be the same again.

Distracted driving may seem harmless – one text here, one Tweet there – but at somepoint that one tweet or text will change someone’s life for the worse. If you get behind the wheel, the best thing to do is to put your phone away and focus on the road ahead of you, not a conversation online.

Schlau’s daughters are proof that no one is exempt from the dangers of distracted driving. Even a police officer who is responsible for making us uphold safe driving habits, can cause the death or injury of others by allowing themselves to be distracted behind the wheel. No matter what is going on around you, when you are behind the wheel your focus should always be your safety and the safety of others.

Safety Tips for Summer Driving

driving-in-summer-300x169Summer is in full swing and whether you and your family are enjoying a stay-cation in Dallas, or traveling, you’ll likely be spending a good amount of your time driving in a motor vehicle.

Summer vacation means crowded roads, highways, and sometimes overly-packed cars. To keep yourself and your passengers safe, practice these driving tips.

1. Plan Ahead

Whether you’re headed out for a long vacation or a short drive to Galveston, always be sure you plan ahead. Check road conditions, including possible construction zones or high-traffic areas. Also, check weather reports and make sure you and your car are ready for what may come your way.

2. Always Have Water in Your Vehicle

This is North Texas – not upstate New York. Having water in your car is always a good idea, especially in case of an emergency. Keeping a case, or a few, jugs of water in your vehicle can save your life.

Water is essential, especially in the Texas summer heat.

3. Prepare Your Car

Even if you regularly maintain your vehicle, always undergo general maintenance before heading out for any trip.

Check the engine fluids to make sure they are at their proper levels, make sure lights, blinkers, windshield wipers, and other essentials are in working order. It’s also important that tires, including a spare, are in top shape. When the weather gets warmer, tires can sometimes crack and change air pressure – it’s important to check your tires to make sure they are in good condition.

4. Share the Road

The roads are often more crowded during summer months, though not always with more cars. Be aware of everyone on the road – bicyclists, runners or pedestrians. There are also more motorcyclists on the road when the weather warms up, so always check your blind spots and drive cautiously.

5. Buckle Up

Always buckle up. It is the easiest thing you can do to guard yourself and your passengers against serious injury or death. All passengers should wear a seatbelt at all times. Infants should be secured in a rear-facing car seat, babies and toddlers in a forward-facing car seat, and children in booster seats until they fit the vehicle’s seat belts properly.

6. Avoid Distractions

There are many distractions that affect our ability to drive on a normal basis, but sometimes summer can offer even more interferences. Avoid using your phone while driving, which includes texting or internet or app use. Distracted driving in Dallas, Texas, is a serious problem we can make the choice to avoid.

I Was Hit By Someone Texting and Driving

shutterstock_1245274481-300x200In order to begin to comprehend the issues surrounding distracted driving, it’s important to get a view of the bigger picture. Consider this about texting and driving:

In 2011, 23 percent of all car accidents reported were attributed to the driver using a cell phone in some capacity – talking, texting and driving, browsing, and even playing games – this number has increased to 54 percent in 2017.

Last year, 3,500 people died in car accidents that are attributable to distracted drivers, including texting and driving. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the use of cell phones, but encompasses all driver distractions.

When it comes to the younger driving demographic, 21 percent of the accident fatalities were directly attributable to the use of cell phones. Texting while driving, either sending or reading while operating a motor vehicle, makes the chance of you having an accident 23 times more likely.

So, why is texting such a catalyst for accidents? One study cited texting as one of the worst distractions that drivers can experience behind the wheel. The average driver will take their eyes off the road for a full 4.6 seconds and travel the length of one whole football field blind to send one text message.

That’ s terrifying, and the message has been made loud and clear: texting and driving is deadly.

One study published in the journal Human Factors has indicated texting and driving is actually more dangerous that talking on a cell phone or to a physical passenger in the vehicle. The study actually tested subjects using a driving simulator and found individuals texting were involved in more crashes because they responded very slowly to the appearance of brake lights in front of them and showed significant impairment in control.

Researchers were also able to determine that it was more than just drivers taking their eyes off the road that contributed to these accidents. There is evidence that attention patterns differ for drivers texting and driving over those who talk on their cell phones or converse with passengers in their cars. For those talking on cell phones, researchers say that the drivers make an attempt to divide their attention equally between the conversation at hand and driving, making adjusting in the priority of each task as they demand it. But in texting, the attention divide is different. During texting, drivers must divert 100 percent of their attention to the phone and then divert it 100 percent back to driving. Because there is several seconds in time when drivers are focused on the process of reading or typing a text, their reactions times are significantly slower. Additionally, the study revealed that reading rather than composing produced the most significant reduction in reaction time.

One possible explanation that has been offered to explain this phenomenon is that drivers that text are 100 percent distracted from driving duties for up to 4.6 seconds at a time. During this time, drivers often decrease their following distance, which, when coupled with a slower reaction time to visual stimulus such as brake lights, often results in catastrophe.

So what does this mean?

It means while everyone knows texting and driving is a hazardous combination, we are actually able to focus on the science behind why. Governments across the country are taking heed of the ever increasing accident rate and are taking action to attempt to slow down the trend and begin to reverse it by banning texting while driving. One such state is Texas.

While the Texas state legislature has failed to pass a unilateral ban on texting while driving, many cities within the state have passed their own versions of a ban.

The next time your cell phone beeps with a text message while you are on your way to your destination, think twice before you pick up the phone to read or respond. If you can’t ignore the message, pull over and respond and keep the roads safer for everyone.

If the other driver was texting during a car accident, the Law Firm of Reyes Browne Reilley can hold them responsible. Call us today at 214-526-7900 or submit the short Free Consultation form below and one of our attorneys will contact you for a free and confidential case review.

Texas Deterrent Aids in Texting & Driving Addiction

texting-and-driving-addiction-300x200Texting and driving has been a growing problem in the United States for years. More and more law enforcement officials are making efforts to reduce texting while driving in order to keep roads safer.

Finally, after six years of trying by the Texas legislature, texting while driving is illegal as of September 1, 2017. We were almost the last state in the U.S. to restrict this dangerous practice. A $25 citation and other restrictions watered the deterrent value down, but the new law making texting while driving a misdemeanor is a good start.

Another proposed statute that would have blocked municipalities from imposing their own stricter texting while driving regulations was not passed.

Government statistics reveal that 20 percent of car accidents involve a distracted driver. That number could possible be higher as distracted drivers rarely admit to the police that they were texting, surfing the net, or dialing numbers while driving after a car wreck.

No matter how much we are told the dangers of texting and driving, people are still unable to stop. Experts on technology addiction have gone as far as to say we have become addicted to checking our phones while driving.

In a report by Forbes, David Greenfield, expert on technology addiction, says, “Every time we get an update through text, email or social media, we experience an elevation in dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that makes us feel happy.” According to Greenfield, it has gotten to the point where we have a true dependence on our phones and the instant gratification that notifications provide.

The cell phone Goliath, Apple, has made improvements in their effort to contribute to safer driving habits. Notifications will be blocked from distracting the iPhone user while they are on the road, to reduce the number of accidents caused by people texting or talking on the phone while driving.

The unveiling of the new iPhone models was hotly anticipated. It is called the Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature and it will basically turn off your phone without actually turning it off, so no notifications of any kind will be able to get through. The phone screen will be off and you will not see any notifications appearing unless you have disabled the feature or tell the phone that you are a passenger. However, you can customize the feature to allow calls, texts from your favorite contacts to notify you even if you’re driving, but the person will have to follow up their text with the word urgent in order to get through to you.

You can set the feature so it replies to your contacts with an automated message telling them that you’re driving or the person can follow up their text with the word ‘urgent’ in order to get through to the notification barrier.

In a survey conducted by Greenfield in collaboration with AT&T, they discovered that 98% of those surveyed do agree that texting while driving is dangerous. However, in that same study, 74% of people participating admitted to texting or similar activities while driving. Similar activities include reading and sending messages, checking social media, and more.

There is nothing wrong with texting or using your phone to browse social media. However, once you get behind the wheel of a car these activities become dangerous and even deadly, and leads to reckless driving. We all compulsively check our phones, whether we are waiting to meet someone or just bored, and we have all gotten into the habit of paying attention to our phones over other things. There are steps to beat the “addiction” we have to our phones, but the first step is to pledge to be a safer driver and put the phone away the minute we get behind the wheel.