As states begin to lift their stay-at-home restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, companies are welcoming employees back to the office after months of teleworking. You probably don’t miss your morning commute, but traffic isn’t the only concern now that the roadways will be crowded again. Distracted driving killed nearly 3,000 people in 2018 and costs Americans $129 billion every year in vehicle crashes. Today, more teenagers are injured and killed due to distracted driving than drunk driving. And, driving while using your phone is actually equivalent to driving while intoxicated in terms of response time.
In a world where we’re seemingly always multitasking, it can be tempting to eat breakfast while on the road or type out a quick email at a stoplight. But the risks simply aren’t worth it. Even if distracted driving doesn’t cause a collision, you’ll be on the hook for an expensive traffic citation if you live in one of the 21 states where using a cellphone and driving is illegal.
Distracted driving isn’t always intentional. Driving while drowsy can be as detrimental as driving drunk, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Long-haul truckers spend most of their time on the road, and they’re often expected to drive throughout the night. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently released updated rules that relax some of the rules around when truckers can take breaks, and some worry that it will increase the potential for truckers driving while sleep-deprived. It’s important to never get behind the wheel if you feel yourself dozing off — it might be inconvenient to pull into a parking lot and take a quick nap, but you’re risking your life otherwise.
What can you do to avoid distracted driving?
- Keep your cellphone in the backseat of your car while driving so you aren’t tempted to check it. Depending on which cell phone you have, you may be able to change the settings to automatically trigger “Do Not Disturb” mode once you’re in a moving vehicle.
- Be aware of your conversations with your passengers and keep your eyes on the road. It feels natural to carry a conversation when driving, but if you become too engrossed, you could be putting yourself in danger.
- Try not to eat while you’re behind the wheel — instead, eat before you leave or at your destination. If you have no other choice, pick a food that will be easy to eat without worrying about creating a mess.
- We all have those days where we oversleep and miss our alarms, but don’t apply makeup or shave while you’re driving. Your attention needs to be on the road and your fellow drivers, not yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to pull over as long as it’s safe and you have ample room in the shoulder. If something demands your attention, like an important phone call or text message, park on the side of the road or in a parking lot and complete the task.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact the personal injury attorneys at Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A. in Ohio today to discuss your legal options.
Partner at Murray & Murray Co., L.P.A.