- University of Michigan researchers have concluded that distracted driving crashes now tally twice as high as drunk driving accidents across the state.
- Motor vehicle operators who take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds automatically double their risk of a crash and killing themselves or others.
- Approximately nine lives are lost and more than 1,000 injured daily in the United States in incidents reported as involving a distracted driver, the CDC says.
- In 2019, the risks created by careless and selfish distracted drivers are more than prevalent, as well as the several easy strategies to avoid becoming disturbed while operating a motor vehicle in the first place.
What is something that’s changed over the last few years with car accidents? I would say distracted driving is number one. We’re seeing more people using their cell phones and not paying attention to what they’re doing while they’re driving, and that’s distracted driving. We’re seeing more people eating while they’re driving and not paying attention to what’s in front of them. We’ve seen an increase in the number of rear-end car accidents throughout the state of Michigan. Now if you are injured because of someone doing that, you have a claim for compensation for that. As a motorist in the state, you have a duty to use due care and caution while operating a motor vehicle. And if you fail to do that, you are not meeting your responsibility under the law. If you are hit by someone who is on their cell phone, give us a call. We can answer any questions that you have. We are here to help.
Distracted Driving is a Growing Cause of Michigan Car Accidents
Since 2017, the state of Michigan alarmingly became one of a handful of states where distracted drivers are responsible for doubling the number of vehicle crashes vs. those caused by drunk drivers. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from operating your vehicle.
There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Distracting activities can include changing the radio station, looking for directions, or talking to passengers. The most often worst offense, with the deadliest consequences, is using a cell phone while driving. Texting while driving is the most dangerous as it requires all three forms of distraction. The poor driving choice dramatically increases the chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash over any other disturbance.
12 Ways to Avoid Driving Distracted in 2019
- Enable your phone’s safe driving feature. Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity, but mobile devices can help remove that temptation if used in the right way. Several safe driving settings are now standard on phones but need to be activated to work. Also, more downloadable apps have emerged to directly block a driver from using their phone, respond to messages or calls with “I can’t talk, I am driving,” and help keep a driver’s attention where it belongs. Always download safe driving apps that require you to never look at the screen while driving.
- Drowsiness is a distraction. In Michigan, drowsy driving crashes increased from 3,281 in 2016 to 3,425 in 2017. To avoid becoming a drowsy driver, get uninterrupted sleep before operating a vehicle and schedule breaks or share driving responsibilities with others.
- Choose the right number of passengers. By limiting the number of people traveling in one vehicle, as well as their level of activity, drivers can stay focused on the road vs. their passenger’s needs.
- Stop to eat. Although there are plenty of opportunities to purchase grab and go meals today, it doesn’t mean you should eat them while driving. Eating will only make a driver less attentive of other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, road hazards and prevent them from being able to respond in time to any driving related issue.
- Do ALL of the “other things” before driving. Answering the phone, responding to a work email, putting on lipstick, setting a driving playlist, taking a TGIF selfie, unwrapping your child’s after-school snack, or cleaning the fogged-up window are all activities that will take a driver’s eyes and attention away from driving. Have yourself and others completely ready to go before you turn the ignition.
- Disable in-vehicle technologies. So many major car manufacturers, mostly high-end, are adding technologies to new vehicles aimed to create fewer accident risks such as dashboard touchscreens and digital infotainment centers. Researchers for AAA found things like heads-up displays, cellphone integration systems, and steering wheel controls could be contributing to the distracted driving epidemic. Taking your eyes off the road for only 5 seconds is equivalent to the time needed to travel the length of a football field.
- Receive treatment for any personality behaviors. Depression and ADHD can increase a driver’s risk of becoming more easily distracted. Even the car radio and talking with another passenger can serve as a major distracted driving hazard for a driver diagnosed with one of these disorders. Medication has been shown to play in the improved driving ability for those adequately diagnosed.
- Keep pets in the backseat. In 2016, a AAA survey found that 65 percent of dog-owning drivers admit petting or holding down their dog, reaching back, taking photos, and other distracting behaviors to tend to their pets. Keep “Fido” and other pets off your lap and buckled into the back seat or better yet, leashed or crated away from your ability to be bothered by them.
- Talk to your teen driver and model good driving behaviors. Teens are more easily distracted from driving than other groups because of texting, riding with friends, eating, using drugs or alcohol, playing music, and using mobile apps while driving. Parents can serve as the best role model to deter their child’s inexperienced and risk-taking behaviors that increase crash risks.
- Maintain your vehicle. A dragging fender, low pressure or wobbly tire, or loud muffler can easily distract a driver, as well as other road users, from the driving attentively. Never drive a vehicle that is not road-worthy.
- Be mindful of other drivers. While you should be focusing in on the road ahead, bad drivers, aggressive passengers, and speeding motorcycles can quickly become a distraction and may disrupt your response time if caught up in a road disturbance with them. Do your best to not engage with bothersome driver behaviors and instead, stay focused on the road ahead of you.
- Plan ahead. Know your route, plan for road delays, and stop in a safe spot to communicate any changes in your regular driving commute with the parties awaiting your arrival. Again, using your phone while driving to text or send a message, or upload a photo of an accident scene to Twitter, will put you in the mix of the 1.6 million cell phone-related crashes that occur each year.
Our car accident injury legal team can’t end this post without mentioning the dangers of cell phone use while driving again. Just don’t do it. Even though there is no national ban on texting or using a wireless phone while driving, several states have passed laws banning texting or wireless phones or requiring hands-free use of wireless phones while driving. In Michigan, it is illegal to text-and-drive, but unfortunately there is no hand-held ban on devices for all drivers yet.
Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyers in Michigan
Accidents as a result of distracted drivers have increased dramatically over the past decade. Drivers are expected to use due care and caution, and those not meeting that benchmark can be held responsible.
If a distracted driver has injured you, contact one of our experienced Michigan injury lawyers for a FREE consultation to see how we can help: 1-800-LEE-FREE.
What is something that’s changed over the last few years with car accidents? I would say distracted driving is number one.
We’re seeing more people using their cell phones and not paying attention to what they’re doing while they’re driving, and that’s distracted driving. We’re seeing more people eating while they’re driving and not paying attention to what’s in front of them. We’ve seen an increase in the number of rear-end car accidents throughout the state of Michigan.
Now if you are injured because of someone doing that, you have a claim for compensation for that. As a motorist in the state, you have a duty to use due care and caution while operating a motor vehicle. And if you fail to do that, you are not meeting your responsibility under the law.
If you are hit by someone who is on their cell phone, give us a call. We can answer any questions that you have. We are here to help.