Anything that compels a motorist to take their attention off the road while driving is considered distracted driving. As I've mentioned in my previous blogs it's not surprising that distractions are pretty high on the list of causes for fatal vehicle accidents nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement revealing that an estimated 30% of all motor vehicle collisions in the United States involving fatal injuries were caused by distractions like texting, operating a navigation system, and eating and drinking while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving has become such a major issue in Pennsylvania, that some are calling it an epidemic. According to the state's Department of Transportation, distractions on the road is a continual problem for residents statewide. In 2012, more than 14,600 collisions involved a distracted driver, of these crashes 57 people died. If drivers had not succumbed to distractions, these accidents could have been prevented.
Pennsylvania has made efforts to minimize its problems with distracted driving by implementing a texting-while-driving ban and by prohibiting motorists from wearing headphones or earphones while behind the wheel. Each driver caught engaging in this misconduct is subject to paying a fine. But despite the state's attempt to decrease accident rates, those high numbers of distracted driving-related accidents have continued. Although distractions are causing the collisions, researchers are focusing on an underlying problem: what causes drivers to feel they can take their eyes and mind off of the road?
The answer is complacency. Drivers begin to feel complacent - satisfied with the way things are without wanting to improve - when they've been driving for awhile. We see complacent drivers over represented in the large truck driving industry traveling hundreds and thousands of miles throughout the United States. We see complacent drivers on our local roadways and highways every single day, driving to and from work and school. Recent studies conclude that seasoned drivers with more than five years of experience begin to forget just how dangerous driving can be. As a result, motorists feel like they can send a quick text, make a phone call, or groom themselves in the mirror without posing a risk to other drivers and putting themselves in danger.
Combating complacent driving is possible with a few simple actions, researchers say. One suggestion is for drivers to alter their routines. Simple gestures like looking in the rearview mirror twice (rather than once) before switching lanes or setting goals every car ride to tailgate less, for example, are small but effective changes that help fight off complacency. Also its a good idea to pay close attention to what other drivers are doing. Perhaps if you see someone texting and driving beside you, you 'll decide to keep a greater distance between your car and their vehicle on the road. Simply being more aware is an important aspect of warding off complacency.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, Call the Brod Law Firm today for immediate assistance at 1-888-435-7946 or contact us online for a free consultation.