In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving claimed almost 3,000 lives. So, what is distracted driving? According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving. This includes rubberneckers, eating, smoking, etc.
Normally observed in April, this year Distracted Driving Awareness Month was postponed to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The campaign is part of a collaboration between NHTSA, the National Safety Council (NSC) and local law enforcement agencies, aiming to bring awareness to this deadly trend that kills thousands each year.
Biggest Distracting Driving Culprit
A review by Erie Insurance in consultation with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of traffic data reported in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) found that the leading cause of distracted driving was drivers being “lost in thought” or generally distracted. The number two cause of distracted driving is cell phone use.
Texting is the most alarming of all, as sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that would be equal to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed!
Driver Charged with Distracted Driving in Serious Accident
A few years ago, as reported in the Daily Voice, a man was sentenced in the Westchester County Courthouse for a distracted driving crash that injured a State Trooper. In the afternoon of December 18, 2017, a Trooper was assisting a motorist with a disabled vehicle. As the Trooper marked off the road with flares to divert traffic, a texting driver failed to see the Trooper on the road and drove directly into him.
It was determined that the driver had sent and received dozens of text messages in the 20 minutes leading up to the crash. The Trooper sustained traumatic brain injuries. Unable to walk or talk, he remains under constant care in a specialized facility for trauma patients. The crash was 100% preventable had the driver had his full attention on the road.
New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett stated, “Using an electronic device behind the wheel is dangerous for the driver, other motorists, and our first responders who are working to protect the driving public,” he added. “Put down your device. It’s the law and it could save a life.”
Distracted Driving Suspected in Several Wrong-Way Driving Incidents
As reported by CBS 2 New York, distracted driving may have been one of the factors involved in two wrong-way driving incidents near Westchester County this year. In at least one of two close calls, the driver stated that the GPS was confusing her. Luckily, no one was hurt in the two most recent wrong-way incidents occurring on or near I-287.
Contact Injured 914 for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured because of a distracted driver, call our office at (914) 368-7168 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation. Our attorneys have been helping car accident victims for over 35 years. We have recovered more than $100,000,000 in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients in White Plains and throughout Westchester County.