Distracted driving accounts for 9 deaths and 1,000 injuries each day in the U.S. and is an ever pressing epidemic, nearly as fatal as drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that fatalities from “distraction-affected” incidents increased 8.8% from 2014 to 2015, increasing from 3,477 to 3,197. Yet Mississippi, despite having laws in place, the figures continue to rise.
So, how can you limit the chance of a distracted driving accident in Mississippi? What are the signs? And more importantly, what is distracted driving?
The Different Forms of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the act of driving whilst engaging in other activities. Distracted driving can be split into 3 different types of distraction behind the wheel - which are:
- Manual Distractions
- Visual Distractions
- Cognitive Distractions
Manual distractions can be classed as any activity that removes your hands off the wheel, whether this be to respond to a text message, or configure your GPS. All manual activities should be done prior to putting the key in the ignition, if that can’t be done, you should find a suitable, safe place to pull over.
Visual distractions are defined as anything that takes away your vision from the road, this can be as little as looking at another passenger or focusing on your GPS system. That being said, the latter example is often debated heavily given the proposed use of the device yet it’s legally sold and allowed.
The most debatable of the three is cognitive distractions, which is classed as any task that may take your mind off the road.
This can extend to day-dreaming to even mentally trying to recall something. You shouldn’t be thinking about anything with such focus other than the road in front of you.
The Importance of Distracted Driving Awareness
The United States’ roads stretch for approximately 583,0947 miles, and every single inch of them is prone to a growth in distracted driving. For a fatality to occur at the hands of distracted driving, there doesn’t need to be any more than a few split-seconds of distraction, whether this be on a freeway or open road.
When put into perspective, studies find that the average time of distraction that occurs is 5 seconds. If you’re travelling at 70mph on a four-way highway in Mississippi, you’re on track to drive over a mile a minute; that’s the equivalent of 4 running tracks. Would you do that blindly? Most likely not.
Despite this, distracted driving poses a threat to not only other road users, but cyclists and pedestrians also. When this is partnered with the discovery that approximately 666,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices behind the wheel, the seriousness begins to show. If that’s not enough, a study of 2,300 by Everdrive found that the average driver is on the phone for 0.4 miles for every 11 miles driven.
The Worrying Future of Distracted Driving
The figures speak for themselves, there is an upward trend in incidents which is only matched by an increase in road users year-on-year. As the average driving age becomes younger, (as shown by the fact drivers in their 20’s make up 27 percent of distracted drivers in fatal crashes) the fear of missing out, socially, is greater than ever.
The urgency to reply to messages is perceived of utmost importance by this younger age range, with over 20% of those surveyed, admitted to feeling the need to respond right away - as a poll carried out by Everquote found out.
Have you been affected by distracted driving?
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Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.