A death occurs every 13 minutes in the United States from an automobile accident and distracted driving causes some 6,000 fatalities every year. Driver attention is demanded at the first Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C.
Florida automobile accident lawyers-epidemic problem of cell phone use while driving contributes to 6,000 motor vehicle deaths every year in the U.S.
West Palm Beach, FL–The first Distracted Driving Summit held by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) http://www.dot.gov began in Washington, D.C., today at the Renaissance hotel. The summit was kicked off by Secretary of the DOT, Ray LaHood, to address the epidemic problem of distracted driving that seems to have taken our nation by storm in the past decade. Distractions while driving, like talking on a cell phone, text messaging, drinking, eating, playing with the radio, and addressing children, causes at least 6,000 deaths every year in the United States. Additionally, more than 515,000 drivers and passengers are injured because of distracted drivers every year. With close to 50,000 lives claimed every year in motor vehicle accidents, on our nation’s highways and roadways, at a national cost of some $300 billion dollars, government officials, automobile industry experts, and law makers are calling for swift action to help save lives.
Kristin Backstrom, Senior Manager for the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety, addressed the audience midmorning and revealed alarming statistics and findings based on a voluntary, anonymous traffic culture survey. The recent traffic culture survey, conducted by the 50 million member North American nonprofit automobile service organization and lobby group, revealed all drivers’ seem to have the mentality, “Do as I say, not as I do” announced Backstrom. Ninety-five percent of the public believes cell phone use and text messaging while driving is a serious problem and a threat to the safety and lives of all drivers and passengers. Even with nearly 100% of all drivers agreeing cell phone use while driving is a threat, an alarming percentage of drivers admitted to a continual engagement in the use of hand held devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Note, when people are questioned about their own personal behavior while driving, the self admission of distracted driving is severely under reported. It comes as no surprise that no one cares to honestly admit their own faults. Armed with this pre-survey knowledge, when drivers were questioned, 2 out 3 or 67% of all drivers confessed to talking on their cell phones or text messaging while driving. The AAA survey further discovered 4 out of 5 or 80% of young drivers, between the ages of 16 to 24, admitted to distracted driving. Probably the most alarming perception the survey revealed was teenagers believe the actual task of driving was the overall distraction from the need to continue to communicate with their friends by talking or text messaging while driving. Backstrom shocked the audience when she stated teens felt driving was the distraction while they were in the car.
Another AAA study revealed a graph showing the use of cell phones while driving has increased in every age group, in every year for the last six years. In 2003, only one out of ten senior drivers reported cell phone use in the car. In 2009, this figure increased to five out of ten elder drivers reporting cell phone usage while driving. That is a 500% increase of cell phone use, in the last six years while operating a motor vehicle, in an age range where the natural age progression alone poses a distraction. It is well documented with age comes wisdom; however, several other things present as well. Specifically, the natural decrease in visual and hearing acuity plus reaction times poses additional concerns with the astounding escalation of cell phone use while driving in the senior age population.
The alarming increase in distracted driving continues across the county, and with a death every 13 minutes on our nation’s highways and roadways from motor vehicle collisions, a call to action is vital. AAA has responded by announcing its first National Heads Up Driving Week from October 5 through October 11 of this year. The North American service organization based in Heathrow, Florida is asking all drivers to embrace the national initiative and keep their ‘Heads Up’ while driving. Drivers must be willing to refrain from all distractions while navigating our nation’s roads. Get on board with state’s like California, who outlawed text messaging while driving this year and issued a mandate to eliminate cell phone use while operating any type of moving vehicle. The life you save today while keeping your head up and your eyes on the road may be your own.
Florida automobile accident lawyer education by legal news reporter Heather L. Ryan.