We’ve all done it – been at a stoplight or in slow traffic and shot off a quick text or e-mail. It's multitasking at its most dangerous. In today's fast-paced world, it can feel all too convenient to perform secondary tasks while driving. Whatever it is you’re doing while driving, you’re becoming dangerously distracted by the activity. In fact, in 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him/her from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing.
- Visual – When you take your eyes off the road
- Manual – When you take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – When you take your mind off what you’re doing
Although texting is the most alarming activity under the distracted driving umbrella, there are other activities that are included:
- Using a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including Maps
- Using a PDA/navigation system
- Watching a video
- Changing the radio, CD, or MP3 player
Cell Phone and Texting Laws
The government is doing their part to ensure the safety of drivers on the road as well. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington have all enacted laws that prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. Moreover, 33 states, D.C. and Guam have passed text messaging bans for all drivers.
To TXT or Not to TXT?
In Florida, it’s perfectly legal to use your cell phone while driving. Although it is never recommended to do so, there are some precautions you can make in order to ensure your safety and those around you.
- Invest in a Cell Phone Hands-Free Car Kit – A hands-free kit will allow you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Most are often equipped with voice command features so you don’t have to look away from the road while you take care of essential business.
- Talk-to-Text – Talk-to-text applications are essential if most of your business or personal conversations are done through texting or e-mailing. Once you’ve downloaded the application, you can press a button to speak your text messages or e-mails. Most of these applications are free or very cost effective if you’re looking for something easy and affordable.
The Future of Safe Driving
Manage Mobility, a Georgia software company announced that it will be partnering with an Irving, Texas software firm to create an application that will disable texting, e-mailing, and Web-browsing functions of a wireless phone in moving vehicles. There are several applications already in the works that disable cell phones with a vehicle is moving, including iZup, tXtBlocker, ZoomSafer, and CellSafety. However, these applications do not work on the iPhone.
If you want to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving, contact our personal injury attorneys today. Our Gainesville, Florida, attorneys are happy to assist you with a myriad of legal services pertaining to personal injury, medical malpractice, and car accidents.