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Let's End Distracted DrivingThe TorHoerman Law Advocacy Campaign

Let’s End Distracted Driving – The TorHoerman Law Advocacy Campaign

Distracted Driving – A Growing Problem

Distracted Driving has continued to be a growing problem on U.S. roadways. TorHoerman Law has recognized the threat of this growing epidemic. We have made it our mission to get the word out to help end distracted driving and make the roadways safer for everyone.

One out of every four car accidents is caused by texting and driving, and approximately 3,000 people a year die in those accidents. Statistics show that it isn’t just teenagers that are texting and driving; adults are texting and driving as much, or more than teens. A recent study conducted by the Journal of Transport & Health found that adults are more likely to engage in distracted driving, particularly texting and driving due to pressure from work. This doesn’t let teens off the hook as research shows that 60% of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving. The data does show though that texting and driving is not an issue solely for teenagers.

 

What is Distracted Driving?

Contrary to popular belief, distracted driving is not limited to driving while using your cell phone. In fact, distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention from driving.

This included, but is not limited to:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the Phone
  • Eating & Drinking
  • Talking to Passengers
  • Fiddling with Vehicle Electronics

There are 3 specific types of distracted driving:

  1. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

 

Distracted Driving Statistics

In 2015 alone, distracted driving resulted in 391,000 injuries and claimed the lives of 3,477 passengers in the United States alone. Fatalities in 2015 were up from 2013, where 3,154 lives were lost because of distracted driving, which is a 10% increase from 2012 fatalities.

One of the most common types of distracted driving among all demographic groups is talking on a cell-phone while driving. Research shows that talking on the phone quadruples your risk of motor vehicle accidents.

Though almost everyone agrees that driving while using a cellphone is unacceptable, many drivers still openly admit that they practice these unsafe behaviors.

“The results of a random survey of drivers showed that while 90% agree that cell-phone use while driving is “unacceptable”, 35% of the same group admitted to using a cell-phone to text or call while driving.”

“During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving.”

Texting is the most prominent form of dangerous distracted driving, especially among young adults age 16-24. A simple one-word text can take your eyes off the road for seconds.

In fact: At 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to cover the length of an entire football field.

Research also shows that texting and driving double your risk of an accident as compared to driving under the influence.

Driving is a privilege that required the full extent of your attention. When you choose to drive while distracted you are not just putting yourself at risk, you are putting the lives of everyone else on the road at risk as well.

 

The Laws Regarding Distracted Driving

Your state government mandates the laws for distracted driving. While the rules differ by state, many states are making an effort to stop distracted drivers by enforcing stricter laws and issuing heavier fines to lawbreakers. You can learn more about IL and MO distracted driving laws here

In Illinois, all drivers are banned from both texting and talking on the phone while driving. It is legal, however, for drivers 19 and older to use a hands-free device while driving. Despite the law, people are continuing to engage in distracted driving. In a tragic accident, a ten-year-old girl was killed in an accident near Champaign, IL due to distracted driving. Learn more about the distracted driving laws in Illinois – http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/distracted.html.

If you’re 21 and over, texting and driving in Missouri is legal. That doesn’t make it acceptable. Accidents are still occurring. Why then do Missouri’s texting and driving ban only apply to those under 21 years of age? Now, more than ever, it is important to bring attention to Missouri’s nonsensical law and bring attention to the fact that more needs to be done by all of us. Missouri law 304.820.1 prohibits anyone 21 years of age or under from texting and driving. It provides limited circumstances, such as to report illegal activity, where those under 21 can text and drive. It doesn’t go far enough, but it also doesn’t mean we can’t all take additional steps to prohibit distracted driving. Learn more about Missouri’s distracted driving laws – https://www.dmv.com/mo/missouri/distracted-driving-laws.

 

What You Can Do To End Distracted Driving

Regardless of what the laws are, we should all pledge to do better. AT&T has created the “It Can Wait” campaign. The campaign is a powerful reminder that we should all avoid distracted driving because our loved ones care about us. Also, other people’s loved ones care about them, and by driving distracted we place their lives at risk. As lawyers we, unfortunately, get to see all too often the results of distracted driving: serious injuries, death, lawsuits, trials, and financial hardship.

Assuming texting distracts you for only five seconds and you are driving 55 mph, then you will drive 100 yards without paying attention. Most texts and emails take much longer to draft than five seconds. We are all too familiar with that compulsion to check our phones, especially while driving. The ding of an email when you are waiting for an important work e-mail. The tone from a text you know is from your mom. The Facebook notification indicating you have been tagged in a photo. All of these create an urge to know immediately what is going on. I know for me, the temptation is often overwhelming, but I also know how dangerous it is to check. It is hard to do the right thing at that moment.

Thus, we should take steps before temptation strikes to eliminate our ability to be tempted. There are many apps available that help prevents distracted driving. Everyone should be using one of these apps if nothing else to serve as a reminder of how dangerous distracted driving is. Yes, your teen can probably disable it if they choose. Yes, you can probably shut it down to check that ever important work e-mail. But each time you contemplate doing so it is a reminder that the text or e-mail isn’t worth your life. Below is a list of apps designed to prevent distracted driving:

  • Life Saver
  • AT&T DriveMode
  • TrueMotion
  • Drive Beehive
  • SafeDrive
  • Focus
  • Cellcontrol
  • Live2Txt
  • Sprint Drive First
  • Verizon Safely Go

In addition to downloading apps that can help eliminate the inclination to check your phone, there are other ways to help end distracted driving.

  • Make a Pledge
    • Pledge to not drive while distracted.
    • Influence your family and friends to make a pledge as well.
      • Set goals and punishments for yourself, your friends and family to help keep you on the right track.
  • Talk to your Children
    • Especially new drivers and teenagers. They are more likely to drive while distracted so you should express how important it is to you that they don’t.
    • Show them the statistics on the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Set a Good Example for Others
    • Whether it be to your children, friends are other family members.
    • Do not drive distracted, especially when you have passengers.

As an effort to help promote our campaign to end distracted driving, our car accident lawyers at TorHoerman Law conduct presentations for local community organizations and schools, spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving. If you are interested in having a member of TorHoerman Law present for your school, workplace or community group contact us.

Distracted Driving Prevention Scholarship

The TorHoerman Law Scholarship Program will be giving a $1,000 scholarship to the student who best explains the following questions:
  • What would you do if your friend was texting while driving?
  • Why does society accept distracted driving?
  • What can we do to raise awareness of the dangers and prevent drivers from participating in distracted driving?
Interested in applying for the TorHoerman Law End Distracted Driving Scholarship? Apply Now Read the 2018 Scholarship Winner’s Essay

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