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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month; distracted driving is a public safety concern which affects us all. Current statistics find that motor vehicle fatalities have risen 6% since 2015. Over 40,000 people were killed on US roadways last year, distracted driving is a major contributor.

Each death is 100% preventable. Whether its smart phones, infotainment systems, or even searching the floor for a fallen item– all pose a threat to our safety. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April is a united effort to recognize and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving means driving while not fully paying attention to the road. Many people think of texting and driving or talking on the phone when driving; however, you can also be distracted by:

  • Reaching for your phone.
  • Changing the music.
  • Using an app.
  • Checking your GPS or map.
  • Taking a photo.
  • Checking email or posting to social media sites.
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Putting on makeup/grooming.
  • Events happening around your vehicle.

Even talking to a passenger in your car can be a distraction. You are distracted ANY TIME your mind and/or your eyes are off the road.

The Extent of the Problem

All drivers will become distracted at some point on their daily trips.  Think about your daily commute. How many times have you looked over and seen someone looking down at their phone?

Even if it’s just for a brief text, all it takes is a few seconds for things to go wrong. Consider the following statistics:

When you send a text, you take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. That’s the time it takes to drive the length of a football field going 55 MPH! (U.S. Department of Transportation).

At any moment during the daylight hours, about 660,000 drivers are handling cell phones or other electronic devices while driving in the U.S. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

You are 3 times more likely to get into an accident when distracted driving by manipulating a mobile device (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).

The annual Traffic Safety Culture Index survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that 88 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise, topping other risky behaviors:

  • Aggressive driving: 68 percent.
  • Drivers using drugs: 55 percent.
  • Drunken driving: 43 percent.

The number of drivers who report using a cellphone behind the wheel jumped 46 percent since 2013.

Almost half of all drivers (49 percent) report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving, and nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email.

Despite their own behavior, many drivers (nearly 58 percent) say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger.

A recent study from the AAA Foundation shows drivers talking on a cellphone are up to four times as likely to crash, while those who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash.

Over 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured daily in incidents reported as distraction-affected crashes in the United States.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.

In 2015, the National Occupant Protection Use Survey reported that handheld cell phone use continued to be highest among 16-24 year old drivers.

DISTRACTED DRIVING LAWS, MINNESOTA

Distracted Drivers are a major cause of personal injury and wrongful death on Minnesota highways.

Minnesota has the following laws against distracted driving.

Texting and Web Access:

Pursuant to Minnesota Traffic Laws, Minnesota Statute 169.475. it is illegal for drivers of all ages to compose, read, or send electronic messages or access the Internet on a wireless device when the vehicle use in motion or part of traffic. This includes being stopped in traffic or at a traffic signal light. This law does not apply to devices that are permanently affixed to the vehicle or global positioning our navigational systems.

Cell Phone Use and Texting:

Pursuant to Minnesota Traffic Laws, Minnesota Statute 171.05, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone, whether handheld or hands-free, except to call 911 in an emergency.

School Bus Drivers:

Pursuant to Minnesota Traffic Laws, Minnesota Statute 169.443, subdivision 9(B), cell phone usage is completely prohibited for school bus drivers.

Reckless of Careless Driving:

Pursuant to Minnesota Statute 169.13, distracted drivers can be ticketed for reckless or careless driving when their actions demonstrated disregard for the safety or rights of others. The statute can be used to charge distracted drivers.

The Car Accident Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team know the dangers of distracted driving, whether “drunk driving”, “drugged driving”, “cell phone driving”, or “drowsy driving”.

75 Years Combined Experience in Car Accident Claims

While our state has not made cell phone use while driving illegal, it seems likely to be on the horizon. Studies have shown that driving while talking on a cell phone is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Around 2,500 people are killed every year in cell phone related car accidents. Just because the activity is still legal in Minnesota does not mean cell-phone distracted drivers cannot be held responsible. If you were involved in a crash due to another driver’s cell phone use, contact the Minneapolis cell phone car accident attorneys at Schmidt-Salita Law Team.

Our injury lawyers investigate the accident thoroughly

Just like drivers who read or apply makeup behind the wheel, those who use cell phones while driving are considered reckless. A Minnesota Personal Injury or Workers’ Compensation lawyer can be a great advantage to anyone injured by a reckless driver. We will help you obtain witnesses and find evidence that other lawyers may overlook. For example, if the other driver claims they were not speaking on the phone when they struck your vehicle, a Minneapolis auto accident attorney from our firm can subpoena the cell phone company to receive a copy of the driver’s cell phone use record.

Our Minneapolis Law Firm’s Attorneys Are Highly Dedicated

At the Schmidt-Salita Law Team, we take care of our clients, ensuring they receive maximum settlements for their injuries. If you were involved in a car accident caused by cell phone use, a skilled Minneapolis cell phone auto accident lawyer from our firm can help you recover damages for:

Pain

Suffering

Emotional distress

Punitive damages

Property damage

And more…

Hiring a skilled Minneapolis cell phone car accident lawyer to sue a distracted driver is not only helpful for you, but also helps send a message that drivers who chat on their cell phones will be held responsible for damage they cause.

To speak with a qualified Minnesota personal injury attorney from the Schmidt-Salita Law Team, contact our office today. We offer free initial consultations and case evaluations to assist you in getting back to your pre-accident life.