Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

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bigstock-Car-Crash-Irony-4324875-1024x683Though vehicle crash fatality rates have been steadily creeping upward with more cars – and especially trucks – hitting the road in the post-recession years, today’s models aren’t scrimping on the safety features. As many as 10 airbags are spread around a new-vehicle’s cabin these days to provide maximum occupant protection in a collision, with a growing number of cars and trucks now offering advanced safety systems that can help drivers avoid getting into crashes in the first place.

But until perhaps all vehicles on the highway drive themselves, cars will still get into collisions, some due to weather conditions, others because of mechanical issues, but largely because of driver error. And while all vehicles are required to meet a set of complex federal safety standards and most cars get good grades in crash tests, as insurance loss statistics released by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) illustrate, some vehicles inherently protect their occupants better than others in a crash.

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shutterstock_909878241-300x199Statistics show that teens are among the most dangerous drivers. This is not news to any of us. Many teens are just irresponsible, while others simply don’t have the experience necessary to be good drivers. The fact is that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are the most dangerous drivers. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, for each mile driven, teen drivers are approximately four times fore likely to be involved in an accident with another driver. They’re also involved in four times more fatal accidents than drivers between the ages of 25 and 69. Teens account for about ten percent of the population, and twelve percent of all fatal car wrecks.

So given these statistics, the question becomes, “Who is liable for these driving mistakes – the teen, the owner of the vehicle or the teen’s parents?” The following are some situations to consider when answering that question.

A Teen Crashes a Family Vehicle

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bigstock-Tears-In-Car-79273438-300x200The dangers of distracted driving are real, and taking the lives of more and more drivers. According to theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone.” So, what counts as distracted driving?

“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system – anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving,” according to the NHTSA.

If you’re a parent, or if you’re a babysitter who drives children around, you are well aware of the issue of children being a serious driving distraction.

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buckles-032614Should a Person be Held Accountable for Texting a Driver Who is Involved in an Accident?

We all know that in many states it is illegal to text and drive. The dangers associated with such distracted driving are clear. However, the courts currently are trying to determine whether or not a person who knowingly texts someone who is driving can be held accountable if the person receiving the text is an accident. Recently in New Jersey, three judges decided that you don’t need to be the one driving to have accountability.

In 2009, a couple was badly injured when a truck driving in the opposite lane drifted into the center of the road and hit them while they were riding their motorcycle. As a result of the accident, both victims lost their left legs among other serious injuries. While they had already finished settling the case with the driver of the truck – who was convicted of texting and driving, they wanted to sue the driver’s girlfriend who had been sending him text messages right before the accident. Police were able to break down the events that happened during that day to determine that the driver had sent a text to his girlfriend mere seconds before the accident.

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Texas police officers can pull people over and give them tickets for texting and driving. Those caught will face fines of up to $99 for a first offense and $200 for a second offense. The new law also states that if an accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year, in addition to any other charges/punishments.

Advocates against handheld phone use say the new law will save the lives of both would-be distracted drivers, and the people they might have struck in accidents.

“The new law will help reduce crashes, save lives, and make Texas roads safer for everyone,” Kent Livesay, vice president and general manager of AAA Texas, said in a statement. “This new law will make travel safer for every Texan.”

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Texting-and-Driving-082113-300x169Texting while driving will soon be illegal in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he has signed HB 62, approving the state’s first ban on handheld communications by motorists. It brings an end to more than a decade of efforts by some lawmakers, notably State Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland, and State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, to reduce potentially deadly driver distractions on the road.

Previous attempts at texting bans either failed to get out of the legislature or fell to the governor’s veto pen.

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3NoHandHeldSign-300x193Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe, of the Denton Record-Chronicle, has recently reported motorists may no longer hold their cellphones while driving in Denton.

She reports: “After more than nine months of debate and compromises, the Denton City Council agreed 6-1 to ban drivers from using handheld devices behind the wheel.

Council member Sara Bagheri cast the only opposing vote in a decision that came after an hour of public testimony and debate Tuesday night.

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Although April is coming to an end, and with it the end of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the time to evaluate our current efforts to change driving attitudes and habits should live on daily.

There are many advocates who travel from school to school educating teens on the dangers of distracted driving. Although these strategies have proven to be valuable in getting safe driving messages across, it has recently been discovered nothing may be more powerful in the fight than simply correcting the misperceptions about the numbers of teens who actually text and drive.

Social norms theory has been used to reduce risky teen behaviors in the context of drinking and tobacco use on college campuses. Essentially, social norms theory provides that the frequency with which a population engages in a risky behavior is generally over estimated and the frequency with which that population engages in the healthy behavior is underestimated.

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If you’re driving down the highway, do you think there is ever a circumstance when it’s safe or smart to close your eyes for five seconds?

Of course you don’t. Keeping your eyes on the road is one of the first things we all learn about safe driving. So why would anyone ever think it is okay to text when behind the wheel, or do anything else that takes your attention from driving?

It takes about five seconds, on average, to read or send a text. Not a lot of time. But, in that span of time, with your eyes on your phone and not on the road, a vehicle traveling 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field. In that instant, over that distance, a life can be taken—maybe even yours. Distracted driving killed 3,477 people on America’s roads in 2015.

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Angel Reyes Blog - Texting and Driving Now Worse Than Drinking and Driving

Distracted driving has been around as long as driving itself. Whether it is children crying or fighting in the back seat, a puppy jumping around on a driver’s lap, or simply taking one’s eyes of of the road to tune the radio, distracted driving has been the cause of countless motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. It’s just in the last five to ten years that distracted driving has become the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents surpassing driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, distracted driving is the number one cause of death in young people under the age of 33. The primary reason for the surge in distracted driving accidents is the explosion of smart phone usage and using your device to send and receive text messages and receive and review notifications.

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