Nine people are killed—and more than 1,000 injured—every single day in the United States in a crash involving a distracted driver, and most would agree that the key distraction in these cases is typically a cell phone. Text messaging actually creates a risk of an auto accident which is 23 times worse than driving with no distractions. Further, drivers who talk and text can actually miss seeing as much as 50 percent of their driving environment.
In other words, a distracted driver could reach work or home, and have little memory of getting there. While we all want to believe we can multi-task, in fact, rather than multi-tasking, the human brain simply switches rapidly between the two activities.
Different Types of Distractions
Anything which takes your attention away from your driving, is a distraction, and any distraction increases the chances of a motor vehicle crash. There are three primary types of distraction: visual distractions occur when your eyes are on something besides the road, cognitive distractions occur when your mind is not on your driving and the other drivers around you, and manual distractions occur when you remove your hands from the steering wheel to perform another task.
Using a cell phone involves all three types of distraction—manual, visual and cognitive. When you are sending a text, your hands are away from the steering wheel, your eyes are away from the road, and your mind is on the text you are sending. Talking on your cell phone is only slightly less dangerous, and recent studies have shown that the use of hands-free cell phone devices is really no safer than holding a cell phone in your hand.
Federal Government Working to Combat Distracted Driving Epidemic
The numbers regarding distracted driving are alarming, at best, particularly since distracted driving is nearly 100 percent preventable in most situations. It would surprise most people to find that the federal government has a division which is entirely devoted to combatting our current distracted driving epidemic through education on distracted driving. While some states are passing laws which allow victims of auto accidents to recover from another driver who caused the accident because of a distraction, the changes are slow in coming.
Cell Phone Laws in Mississippi
As of now, Mississippi is one of nine states which has not banned texting for all drivers. The state has banned texting for bus drivers and for young drivers, however Mississippi continues to have some of the mildest distracted driving laws on the books, even having a Preemption Law which prohibits local governments from enacting their own distracted driving ban.
Bus drivers in the state of Mississippi are banned from all cell phone use, whether hands-free or hand-held. This is what is known as a “primary law,” which means the driver can be pulled over for using a cell phone while driving without another type of violation. Novice drivers, those holding a learner’s permit or a provisional license are also banned from texting while driving, and this is also a primary law in the state.
Other Distracted Driving Behaviors
Aside from cell phone use, the most common distracted driving behaviors engaged in by drivers across the nation include the following:
- Eating and drinking;
- Personal grooming, including applying makeup;
- Setting a GPS device;
- Talking to passengers;
- Turning around to see what the children are doing;
- Listening to audiobooks;
- Adjusting the radio, or
- Browsing the Internet.
Although some of these activities may seem relatively harmless, any distraction which causes the driver to take their attention away from the road and other drivers, can result in an accident. Such an accident can cause serious injuries, or even death, leaving the distracted driver potentially facing charges. As you can see, a distracted driving accident could potentially alter your future in a very negative way, whether you are the distracted driver who caused the accident, or the person who was injured because of a distracted driver. For victims of a distracted driver, showing the accident was the direct result of distraction is usually sufficient to establish legal liability, however an experienced attorney can help establish liability.
Contact Our Jackson Car Accident Lawyers
If you are involved in a car accident in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi car accident attorney who will protect your rights and assist you in receiving a fair settlement for your injuries.
At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi car accident victims – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. We can help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at 1-601-948-1600, 1-877-231-1600 or via the car accident form below:
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.