Distracted driving is a real problem throughout all of Tennessee. When it comes to population, Davidson County is only second in place to Shelby County. Likewise, Shelby County is the only county that has more distracted driving crashes year after year.
Statistics provided by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security show over 1,800 accidents related to distracted driving through the third quarter of 2018. Most other counties had less than 200 – with many under 100.
Last November, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office partnered with local law enforcement authorities to create Operation Incognito “OI.” Part of OI’s mission was to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Based on this initiative, it will be interesting to see if the final accident numbers for 2018 in Davidson County go down.
What is Distracted Driving?
More than likely, you already have some idea of what constitutes distracted driving. The particulars are found in TN Code § 55-8-199 as they pertain to certain aspects of the law. Quite simply, drivers are prohibited from using anything other than a hands-free mobile device to talk or text.
Interesting enough, Tennessee’s laws don’t limit the interaction to telephones. The term “digital assistant” is also part of the statute. This is generally interpreted as any type of electronic communication device such as an iPad, Kindle or other pocket type PC.
Meanwhile, there are other acts that constitute distracted driving. Among the most common are:
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Reading a book while operating a motor vehicle
- Putting on makeup behind the wheel
- Adjusting radio controls
- Programming the GPS system
Distracted driving crashes often involve rear-end accidents. Meanwhile, some distractions can cause head-on collisions. All types of motor vehicle accidents can occur when the driver even momentarily takes his or her eyes off the road.
Matter of Cause and Effect
Unfortunately, it becomes a matter of cause and effect. It takes a mere few second distraction to place others at risk. In fact, that was the case with a former college football player.
According to news reports, the aspiring athlete just completed practice when he and his friend decided to go out for a quick dinner. When they hit the road after their meal, they headed down the highway. Neither was prepared for what happened next.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a female driver crossed the center line and veered into the young men’s vehicle. It appeared that she was holding something and looking down when the accident happened.
The crash was so traumatic that it ultimately left the football player paralyzed. He now uses a wheelchair to move around. And, he acts as a coveted speaker who presents the dangers of distracted driving to teenagers.