Distracted Driving

April is National Distracted Driver Awareness Month and Fort Worth police are busily embracing initiatives to try to reduce accidents and fatalities attributed to distracted driving  In 2011, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that more than 81,000 auto accidents and 361 fatalities were caused by distracted driving.

One of the miracles of the 21st century is the ever-evolving technology that allows us to be available, engaged and conversant even when we are mobile. But this technology is clearly a major cause of distracted driving accidents.

Using technology and managing it while driving are only part of the distracted driving problem. By definition, distracted driving is; “Any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.†In Fort Worth, safety officials want drivers and their passengers to realize that distracted driving endangers drivers, passengers and innocent bystanders.

Types of Distracted Driving

Anything that takes your eyes, hands or mind away from the task at hand of driving safely from one place to another qualifies as a distraction that poses risk. Some of the more prevalent distractions are:

  • Texting
  • Reading a text
  • Use of cellphone or smartphone
  • Sending or receiving e-mail
  • Eating
  • Driving
  • Tuning the radio/stereo
  • Grooming
  • Driving aggressively
  • Interacting with passengers

And, we cannot forget trying to make eye contact with that dreamboat jogger or admiring the spectacular Texas sunset. Whatever the distraction, if you are only partially paying attention to your driving, you are distracted and it is time to pull over and get your act together.

Distracted Driving Statistics You Should Know

The Texas Department of Public Safety wants you to think about these statistics.

  • Reading a text takes the driver’s eye off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds or the amount of time it takes a vehicle going 55 MPH to cover the length of a football field.
  • The section of the brain that processes moving visual images decreases by 33% when the driver is engaged in a phone call.
  • Drivers using cell phones have slower reaction times than drivers who register 0.08 blood Alcohol content.
  • People who walk or jog while on their cell phone are also at greater risk of injury or being involved in a car accident than walkers/joggers who are paying full attention to their exercise.
  • A study from Carnegie Mellon indicates that drivers using cell phones can miss observing as much as 50% of the driving environment.

Fort Worth Safety Officials Suggestions

In Fort Worth and throughout Texas, distracted driving is the focus of attention because with a bit of knowledge and discipline distracted driving can be eliminated. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Never text and drive.
  • Stay focused on driving and be alert.
  • If you are a passenger in a vehicle operated by a distracted driver, say something.
  • Talk up distracted driver awareness at school, work and in the carpool.
  • Make the vehicle you are riding in a “no phone†zone.

The Fort Worth Police Department says “no phone car zones†are the most highly recommended cure for distracted driver accidents.

Because the technology just keeps coming and in many cases is built into the newer model vehicles, the time to eliminate distracted driving is now. If you have an emergency communication or meeting that must occur at a time when you are on the road, take a moment and pull over. Complete your business at hand and resume your trip only when your mind is back behind the wheel.

Being a responsible driver, protecting your passengers and shielding innocent bystanders means paying complete attention to the road and the operation of your vehicle. We can eliminate distracted driving, prevent personal injuries and save time and money by committing to never be a distracted driver.

If you are involved in an auto accident, contact the Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stoy Law Group, PLLC at (817) 820-0100 or fill out a free case evaluation for a free consultation regarding your comprehensive legal solutions.