Distracted drivers cause far too many car accidents in Massachusetts
The message is simple: Put down the phone and pay attention.
Unfortunately, too many drivers allow themselves to be distracted, and the consequences can be tragic. Distracted drivers often cause car accidents with serious injuries and even fatalities.
The National Safety Council declared April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time to think about the devastation caused by distraction-affected crashes. If you drive regularly, walk, or bicycle on roads, you probably have noticed other drivers taking part in activities that have nothing to do with driving.
Distracted drivers are dangerous. According to End Distracted Driving, about 36,000 deaths from car crashes were reported nationally in 2019. Seven percent of the deadly accidents were linked to distractions. That number is an increase of nearly 10 percent from the previous year.
What are the different types of driver distractions?
Distractions come in many forms, but safety experts classify three main types:
- Manual: Moving your hands from the wheel
- Visual: Looking away from the road
- Cognitive: Thinking about things other than driving
One of the most common types of distraction is the use of a cell phone. Drivers increase the risk of an accident when they use their phones to do just about anything, from texting or checking social media to having a conversation.
Keep in mind that texting and driving is widely considered the most dangerous type of distracted driving since a motorist needs to hold their phone (manual distraction), look at the phone screen (visual distraction), and think about what they are reading, writing, or sending (cognitive distraction).
Here are some other common types of driver distractions:
- Daydreaming or being lost in thought
- Having strong emotions, such as anger, frustration, or sadness
- Looking at something alongside the road (also referred to as rubbernecking)
- Reaching for an object in the car
- Eating, drinking, or self-grooming (e.g., combing hair, doing makeup, etc.)
- Manipulating a stereo, GPS, climate control, or infotainment system
- Chatting with passengers
Tips to avoid distracted driving
When behind the wheel, stay focused on the road and the task of driving. Be mindful that even a small distraction can lead to a serious accident. If you need to reach for something in the car or you must use your phone, pull over to a safe location first.
Most drivers (84 percent, according to End Distracted Driving) recognize that cell phones pose a serious distraction. But some of these drivers admit they have read or sent a text message while operating a vehicle.
What to do if you get hit by a distracted driver
A distracted driving accident can happen in a split second. In many cases, the other driver might deny looking at a phone or being distracted at the time of the crash. The accident claim can become complicated. The insurance company might contact you to ask questions. Your answers could be used against you to shift blame and reduce your compensation.
If you get hit by a distracted driver in Massachusetts, it’s generally in your best interests to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss what happened and understand your legal rights. A car accident lawyer can help by reviewing the police accident report, gathering witness statements, and finding the facts that matter to build you the strongest case possible.
For a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone after your accident. We have the experience and resources victims of distracted driving accidents need. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t pay us anything unless we win your case. Tell them you mean business!