Distracted Driving 101: What You Need to Know

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on April 12, 2019

It’s an epidemic that’s sweeping the country. In the past few years alone, distracted driving accidents have increased dramatically. Each day in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately nine people are killed, and 100 people are injured in motor vehicle crashes that involve a distracted driver.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month where there is a unified effort to recognize the dangers of distracted driving in our communities and eliminate those distractions while we’re behind the wheel. Do you know what precisely distracted driving is? Keep these stats and tips in mind next time you’re going for a drive.

The Types of Distraction

Anything that takes your attention off the road is a distraction. Whether it’s something as simple as fiddling with the radio or complex such as responding to a text message, a distraction from the task at hand can be extremely dangerous.

According to the CDC, there are three main types of distraction when behind the wheel:

  • Visual – This is when you take your eyes off the road such as looking at your cell phone screen to respond to a text.
  • Manual – Your hands are off the wheel such as when you’re eating or reaching to get something from the other side of the vehicle.
  • Cognitive – Your mind is off in another place and not concentrating on your driving.

Who is Most at Risk for Distracted Driving?

According to the CDC, the age group most likely to engage in this risky behavior is young adult and teen drivers. In a 2017 survey on health-risk behaviors among high school students, 42 percent of high school students who drove in the past 30 days had reported sending either an email or a text while driving.

These drivers are also less likely to wear a seatbelt and more likely to either drink and drive or ride with an intoxicated driver.

How Can We Stop Distracted Driving?

At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we want to make sure everyone is safe when driving on Tennessee’s roads. Before you start driving, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times. Remember, just taking your eyes off the road for five seconds is equal to driving blind the length of a football field at 55 mph.
  • Hungry? It can wait until you get there! No snacking while driving.
  • Make all adjustments before starting the car. Check your GPS for the route; make sure the mirrors and climate controls are appropriately adjusted. And of course, the radio is tuned to the perfect station!
  • Ignore the phone. In Tennessee, it is illegal to text while driving. It can wait until you get there.
  • Make sure all passengers or pets are secure before driving. If they do need your attention, pull over to the side of the road to take care of the problem.

Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC is Here to Help

If you do get into an accident with a distracted driver, you need to know your rights. We’re here to help! Contact our Nashville distracted driving accident lawyers now and get the help that you need.

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