• Jinks Crow & Dickson

How to Avoid & Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents


We have written before about distracted driving and wantonness, distracted driving and the rules of the road, and frequently asked questions on distracted driving. Why are we writing about it again? April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and now is a good time to regroup and take responsibility for the choices we make when we're on the road. Distracted driving does not appear to be slowing in its frequency and deaths continue. How do we avoid distracted driving accidents? How do we prevent distracted driving?


What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with music, entertainment, or navigation — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.[1] Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.[2]


Distracted Driving Statistics

The latest statistics from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that well over 3,000 lives are claimed every year due to auto accidents caused by distracted driving.[3] Those are just the accidents in which we know that distracted driving was the cause. Obviously, there are more. Stand on a street corner and watch the passing cars and trucks. Look at those you pass on the interstate. How many people are holding a cell phone? How many people are talking on their phone? While this isn’t scientific, it appears to be a majority. The fact is that more than 220 million people in the United States subscribe to wireless services, and it is estimated that as many as 80% of those subscribers use their phones while driving.[4] That’s 176 million people. Reports show that at any given moment during daylight hours, more than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.[5]


How to Prove Distracted Driving

Historically, technology has not been precise enough to detect whether and when, exactly, a cell phone was in use when an accident occurred. That’s all changing. The amount of data captured by cell phones and the networks that provide them is astounding. The computers that are in newer vehicles capture an amazing amount of data, as well. As a result of these enhanced technologies, we are likely to see increases in the number of accidents attributed to distracted driving. This is not necessarily because more people are doing it. It’s simply a matter of being able to prove it.


How Do We Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents?

So, what do we do? The only way to avoid being involved in an accident with someone who is driving distracted is to drive defensively. If the person behind you is clearly distracted, avoid sudden stops, and move out of their way. That’s the best we can do.


How Do We Prevent Distracted Driving?

The only real way to avoid distracted driving is to help prevent it. We must model good behavior. Put the phone away. When a driver is distracted in a vehicle that we are riding in, say something. Spread the word. We must talk about the dangers of distracted driving at school, at work, at church, at civic clubs, and wherever we have friends and colleagues who care.


In the unfortunate event that you are affected by a distracted driver, we’re here to help. The distracted driving accident lawyers at Jinks, Crow & Dickson have more than 40 years of experience and have handled car accident cases for clients throughout the states of Alabama and Georgia. If you have been injured or lost a family member in a distracted driving car accident, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

[1] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving [2] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving [3] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving [4] https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx [5] https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx