The number of traffic fatalities is up by 11 percent since 2014 and in the southwest corner of the state, accidents are up by 36 percent according to an article by Ozarks First. Local business owners and Highway Patrol are working diligently to help reduce the number of accidents and also curb the main cause for the increase in traffic fatalities countrywide. The goal is to start teaching young student drivers the dangers of distracted driving long before they get behind the wheel.
Teaching Students About Distracted Driving
The “Life on Track” program is an example of a teen driver safety program that gives local high school students a course in the dangers of distracted driving. These lessons are meant to stick with students for a lifetime and hopefully curb dangerous behaviors while driving. The program features several exercises, one of which has a student attempt to navigate a go-cart course while wearing goggles that simulate high levels of alcohol in the body.
Another exercise was to allow students to attempt texting while driving. The students were asked to take on the course while attempting to text message and make a timed lap. Typically a text message takes five seconds to respond to, according to Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant Jason Pace. Five seconds, while traveling 55 miles per hour, spans the length of a football field.
Some of the students even reported not remembering that they made turns while texting and they don’t recall watching the road. This is an example of what is called “cognitive distraction” and this type of distraction is particularly dangerous to young, inexperienced drivers.
The True Dangers of Texting and Driving
Texting while driving is a national concern. With mobile devices becoming increasingly popular fixtures in American lives, the use of them while driving has equally increased. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distractions were the cause of 18 percent of fatal crashes in 2012 – with more than 421,000 people injured. The FCC states that forty percent of teenagers admit to being in a car while the driver used their cellphone in a way that put others in danger. Also, 11 percent of drivers between 18 and 20 that were involved in accidents admitted that they were sending or receiving text messages at the time of impact.
Recent evidence shows that texting and driving is no longer just a teen driver safety concern. Working adults have become the largest segment of distracted drivers as they manage busy personal and work lives with their phones in hand.
Those driving with cell phones can avoid becoming distracted behind the wheel just by:
- Putting their phone away. There is no need to use a phone while driving – even using hands-free devices. Instead, pull off to the side of the road or wait until you reach your destination to use your phone.
- Drive by example. If you are a parent, teach your children that cell phones are only meant to be used when you are at a safe place. Children do learn from the behaviors of their parents; therefore, exhibiting proper behaviors now is key.
- Set permissions on a teenager’s phone. If you have a teen driver in the house, set permissions so that they cannot text while in the vehicle. There are mobile apps that turn off sounds and will not allow your teen to receive or send text messages when driving.
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Contact Horn Law
If you or a loved one is the victim of a texting driver and have been injured, contact Lead Attorney Doug Horn at Horn Law for legal consultation. Doug Horn concentrates in distracted driving cases. He is prepared to immediately investigate and provide you the help you need. Contact Doug at 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form.