For the second consecutive year, more than 40,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC) reveal that the number of deaths in 2017 is six percent higher than in 2015. Many of these fatal accidents are caused by distracted driving, a behavior that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says was responsible for 3,477 deaths in 2105 alone.
April is distracted driving awareness month, and many organizations, companies and individuals are coming together to raise awareness regarding this increasingly deadly epidemic. According to a recent American Automobile Association (AAA) study, motorists across the nation are concerned that the distracted driving problem is getting worse. Although drivers know of the dangers associated with distracted driving, they engage in risky behaviors anyway such as using their cellphones.
A AAA Mid-Atlantic release shows that 58 percent of drivers believe using a cellphone while driving is dangerous, but 49 percent of drivers use their cellphones while driving anyway – up 46 percent from 2013. The annual AAA Traffic Safety Culture survey, designed to gain insight into drivers’ attitudes towards and perceptions of risky behaviors, gathered data from 2,613 licensed drivers aged 16 and older who have driven in the past 30 days.
The survey revealed that nearly 50 percent of travelers regularly see drivers texting or emailing while driving and 35 percent report having sent a text or email themselves while driving. Also, 88 percent believe distracted driving is on the rise, compared to other risky behaviors including aggressive driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Cellphones, dashboard infotainment systems, voice command features and other emerging technology pose significant threats to driver safety. Distractions can also occur when a driver drinks, eats, puts on makeup, talks with a passenger, reaches for an object or other activities that cause them to take their attention off driving.
According to the AAA, distracted driving is difficult to detect following a crash, which is why federal estimates that suggest distracted driving crashes are down two percent may not be accurate. In the past, government estimates indicated that 14 percent of all crashes were attributable to distracted driving while AAA Foundation research showed that distraction was actually a factor in 58 percent of crashes.
The NSC is offering various fact-sheets, infographics and posters as well as webinars to help create awareness in the workplace as car crashes are the leading cause of workplace death. It will also be conducting social media promotions as well as a pledge to drive cellphone free. The NSC hopes to spread awareness regarding distracted driving so that preventable deaths can be eliminated.
Pennsylvania’s texting while driving ban prohibits reading, writing or sending text-based communications while a vehicle is in motion. Unfortunately, many drivers do not comply with this law and cause catastrophic accidents due to their negligence. If you were injured in a car accident, contact the experienced Pittsburgh car accident lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. We can help determine the cause of your accident, hold responsible parties accountable and recover the financial compensation you deserve. From our office in Pittsburgh, we represent clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including those in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County. Contact us online or call us at 412-765-1888, or toll-free at 800-243-6095 for a free case evaluation.