Posts tagged with "distracted driver"

Texting and Driving Dangerous and Illegal

Texting and Driving: Dangerous and Illegal

While it is safe to say that everybody knows that using a mobile device for texting while driving an automobile or other vehicle is illegal, thousands still engage in the act every day. In fact, current statistics state that at any given time in America, nearly 700,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving.

Texting while driving falls under the Distracted Driving umbrella, and is the cause of over 1,000 daily accidents resulting in injuries and unnecessary and unfortunate deaths. So why is it that even when everyone knows that texting while driving is dangerous and illegal, drivers still do it? Most likely because the majority of people who text or use mobile devices while driving do not realize the inherent dangers.

Additionally, the majority of those texting while driving are younger drivers; teens and those in early to mid-twenties. This generation typically rationalizes that they won’t get in an accident. Even powerful statistics, such as the one that states nearly 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015, seem to have little power to sway those who regularly text and drive.

 

A Loss of Focus

Distracted driving is not a new term—it essentially refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s focus from the road and other drivers and objects around them. Before rampant cellular phone use, distracted driving could have referred to eating while driving, applying one’s makeup, adjusting the car radio, fiddling with a GPS or turning one’s focus away from the road to speak to passengers.

Any of the above activities is an unsafe distraction, but in recent years, it has been determined that texting while driving is actually the most unsafe and dangerous driving distraction of all. What people don’t seem to realize is how far they actually travel along the road while sending or reading a text for just a few seconds. Traveling at 55 mph for only 5 seconds, a driver can traverse the length of a football field. Distracted driving is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed, and driving across an entire football field with your eyes closed provides lots of opportunity for accidents.

 

Texting While Driving: Illegal in Massachusetts

Some states have banned all cell phone use while driving. In Massachusetts, it is not illegal for drivers to use their cell phones to make and receive calls while driving, although hands-free devices are preferred. However, texting while driving is strictly prohibited. Additionally, junior operators of a vehicle are prohibited from using mobile devices or other handheld electronic devices at all, except for navigation systems and emergency assistance controls. Bus drivers are also prohibited from using mobile phones completely while driving.

Massachusetts State Law will levy fines for the first and additional repeated offenses, and junior operators will also have their license suspended for a period of time. And because the texting while driving law in Massachusetts is considered a “primary law”, a police officer can pull you over simply for witnessing or appearing to witness texting while driving. The act is also completely illegal even if the car is stopped in traffic, so it is both a wise and safe idea to simply wait until some point that you can pull over and stop the car to read or send messages.

 

Practicing Safe Driving in the Cell Phone Age

No one can deny that cell phones are a major part of our lives, and we are all guilty of interrupted anything we might be doing to glance at our mobile devices whenever we hear those telltale tones indicating a call, email or text message alert. But the one place where you need to strive to avoid cell phone use is behind the wheel of a car.

In fact, in April 2017, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month was declared, and a “Drive Present” campaign was launched, focusing on teaching drivers to be more engaged in the driving moment, and less distracted by other actions and objects, especially mobile phones.

In order to cut down on accidents, injuries and fatalities related to distracted driving, and more specifically texting while driving, drivers are encouraged to follow certain guidelines when getting behind the wheel of a car.

  • First and foremost, the best thing to do is to simply turn off the phone when driving, or at the very least, turn the sound off so that you aren’t distracted by any tones that alert you.
  • If you are expecting emails, texts or phone calls, then when you do receive them — find a place to pull over. It will only take a few minutes of your time to pull over and review and send any messages, while it only takes a few seconds to wind up in an accident resulting in injuries or death.
  • If you are driving with a passenger, ask them to handle any messaging for you so that you can continue to focus on the road.
  • Because many often use their mobile phones as a GPS navigator as well, prepare your maps and directions before you start driving, or, if possible, use the phone voice commands to get directions, rather than using your hands.

Remember, anything that takes your eyes and concentration from the road, pedestrians and other drivers is a potential hazard. It simply isn’t worth it to risk your life and the lives of others to answer a text that can certainly wait.

 

We can help

Have you or a loved one been injured by a distracted driver? Give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and possible next steps.

Driver crashes into real estate office in South Boston

Most people think a car accident can only happen on the road. Every once in a while, a car accident can involve a building as well. This is the case for a recent car accident that occurred in South Boston. A man smashed his car through the walls of a real estate office after traveling in reverse across the street from a Rite Aid parking lot. The driver went over a guardrail and into the office’s conference room. The driver is reported to have received minor injuries that were tended to at an area hospital.

Only one person is reported to have been inside the building at the time of the accident. This person is reported to not have been injured. Boston police are investigating the cause of the accident. There are many possibilities as to why this car accident occurred though. It could be due to a negligent or distracted driver, or even texting and driving.

It is a lucky occurrence that the accident did not happen during a busy workday, as many employees could have been injured.

It is good to be aware that car accidents do not just happen on the road. It is important to remember that car accidents entail any accident involving a car, and if you are the victim of such an accident, you should first seek medical attention and then retribution. Also keep in mind that not all injuries are obvious immediately. You may find yourself unexpectedly requiring compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering. Consulting legal counsel and maintaining documentation of any medical expenses may help you financially overcome any grievances caused by a senseless car accident.

Source: Boston.com, “Car crashes into South Boston real estate office; driver suffers minor injuries,” Laura Gomez and Alyssa Creamer, Feb. 1, 2014

Autonomous cars could soon reduce accidents in US

Earlier this week, we wrote a blog post on the devastating car accidents that are caused every day in Boston and the rest of the United States because of distracted driving.

The truth is that most serious and fatal car accidents are the result of driver errors, which is why experts predict that these accidents could be significantly reduced after self-driving automobiles become the norm.

While autonomous cars may seem like part of the distant future, experts predict that many of us will own one in our lifetimes. According to a new report by IHS Automotive, many auto manufacturers already have plans to put their first self-driving cars into production.

The report stated that by 2035, about half of the vehicles on the road will drive on their own. The report predicted that by 2050, almost all vehicles on the road will have the ability to operate autonomously.

Perhaps the best part of the new technology is that car accidents are expected to decline steadily as more and more self-driving vehicles hit the roads. Not only that, air pollution and traffic congestion are also expected to improve.

While many people may be eager to get their hands on a self-driving vehicle as soon as possible, experts caution that the first models will be expensive and will likely require a human “co-pilot” to be on stand-by in case of a technology error.

But IHS’s report predicted that by 2030, self-driving cars will be available that don’t require any human involvement. To imagine that distracted driving could be a non-issue in the near future is quite amazing.

Source: NBC News, “Self-driving cars popular by mid-century: study,” Paul A. Eisenstein, Jan. 6, 2014

Distracted driving a danger for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists

Imagine you are driving down the highway in Boston, Massachusetts, and a car in front of you suddenly starts to drift near the border of the lane. It sharply corrects itself, but then it starts drifting the other way. Again, the vehicle corrects itself. You keep driving and eventually decide to pass this vehicle. As you drive by, you see a distinct white glow illuminating the driver’s face. You instantly know — this guy is texting while driving, and putting everyone around him at risk as a result.

The sad fact is, this isn’t even something you have to imagine. You could drive down any highway right now in any state and find a driver who is blissfully plugging away at their cellphone while driving their car. It’s frustrating and disheartening all at the same time.

Distracted driving is incredibly negligent, and in the state of Massachusetts there are heavy fines associated with the act. However, that still doesn’t deter people from making such a reckless decision when they are behind the wheel. Should they cause an accident, they can (and should) be held liable for their irresponsible behavior in civil court.

However, for as dangerous as distracted driving is for people in other cars, it is even more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. They are completely vulnerable out there, and a clueless driver that’s typing “LOL” to his or her friend will have little chance to see a biker or pedestrian, let alone stop in time. According to a recent study, bike and pedestrian fatalities attributed to a distracted driver has increased 50 percent from 2005 to 2010.

Source: Medical Daily, “Distracted Drivers Cause Pedestrian Deaths To Rise 50% From Texting, Talking On Phone, Or Eating At The Wheel,” Lecia Bushak, Nov. 30, 2013