Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Why Distraction Threatens Your Safety

by Staff Blogger | April 13th, 2020

distracted driving in California

Every driver is tempted by distractions. We all have smartphones buzzing with notifications that demand our attention, favorite songs that compel us to blast our car stereos, or chatty passengers who draw our focus from the task of driving.

However, giving into these distractions has consequences. The safety of drivers, passengers, and anyone else on or near the road is constantly at stake whenever drivers get distracted by texts and other notifications.

We want to tell you why distracted driving awareness matters, who it affects, and what you should do to combat it.

5 Facts About Distracted Driving

To illustrate how serious the threat of distracted driving is on our roads, consider these five statistics:

  1. Each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured because of distracted driving.
  2. At any given point in the day, nearly one out of 10 drivers are using mobile devices.
  3. More than two-thirds of respondents to a AAA survey reported talking on cell phones while driving during the previous month.
  4. Nearly one-third of survey respondents admitted engaging in distracting behaviors fairly often or regularly.
  5. Hands-free isn’t risk-free: One study found that listening to someone talking decreased activity in the part of the brain associated with driving by 37%.

What Are California’s Laws on Distracted Driving?

California law bans all driver use of hand-held devices. Certain drivers, like minors and school bus drivers, are prohibited from using cellphones entirely, even as hands-free devices. You can also be given a “reckless driving” or “speed unsafe for conditions” ticket for driving while performing distracting activities, such as drinking, eating, grooming, or reaching for objects on the floor. 

Who Is Affected by Distracted Driving?

We all have a stake in raising distracted driving awareness. That includes distracted drivers, their victims, and the loved ones of those victims.

Few drivers intend to cause themselves or other drivers harm. Causing a crash because you couldn’t resist the temptation to pick up a mobile device could ruin a person’s life.

Consider the lives of all the people connected to those who cause crashes and those that suffer injuries because of another driver’s inattention. The chances are good that you or someone you know has been affected by distracted driving in some way.

Are Certain Drivers More Susceptible to Distraction?

Most California’s drivers know our state’s “Put Your Phone Down. Just Drive” campaign that targeted drivers between the ages of 16 and 24. There’s a reason that younger, less-experienced drivers are often the focus of safety awareness campaigns; drivers under the age of 20 are involved in a disproportionate number of distraction-related crashes compared to drivers of other age groups.

However, young people are not the only distracted drivers. For example, a study from the AAA Foundation for Driving Safety reported that drivers age 55 and older were distracted for more than eight seconds longer than younger drivers when programming navigational devices or using their car stereo.

How to Observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The most important thing you can do is purge distracting activities from your routine. If you’re tempted by your smartphone, place the device in an out-of-reach place inside your vehicle to avoid the urge to use it. If you’re a parent, setting a positive example could influence your child to be equally diligent when they get behind the wheel.

Several apps and smartphone settings are capable of preventing distracting notifications. Consider using Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving mode, the AT&T DriveMode app, or Samsung’s In-Traffic Reply app.

You might also consider spreading the word about the dangers of distracted driving. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is the perfect opportunity to talk about this important issue. Don’t be afraid to tell a friend or family member to put away their phone if you notice them texting while driving.

When Distracted Drivers Cause Accidents in California, Call Our Team

We hope that safety awareness campaigns make our roads safer, and you never need to deal with the fallout of a distracted driving accident. However, if you do, know that the law is on your side.

Never pay the price for another driver’s mistakes. Holding that driver accountable for their carelessness is a key part of making our roads safer for everyone.

At Berg Injury Lawyers, we’ve represented countless clients in Northern California who have been injured by reckless drivers, including drivers who injured others because they were texting while driving. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, we can help.

Insurance companies will want you to accept the first settlement they offer. In some cases, they’ll deny your claim entirely.

Before you speak to an insurance company’s representative, talk to an attorney. Contact the California car accident lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers and schedule your free consultation today.