The Increasing Problem of Distracted Driving on the Road
According to government statistics, over 3,000 people were killed and over 424,000 injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013. Both these numbers represent increases in the dangers associated with distracted driving. When drivers fail to pay attention behind the wheel, the consequences for others can be devastating. Though there have been concentrated efforts to reduce the prevalence of these incidents, distracted driving continues to be a problem in Rhode Island and across the country.
What Is Distracted Driving?
The government’s official website on the topic, Distraction.gov, defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Common distractions include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Changing the radio station or adjusting the music player
Dangers of Distracted Driving
While some of these distractions have existed for many years, the more recent prevalence of texting has increased the number and danger of distracted driving accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a driver traveling 55 mph will cover the distance of a football field with his eyes off the road when sending an average text. The CDC names three main types of distraction that contribute to accidents:
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive – taking your mind off the task of driving.
All of these modes of distraction can lead to serious accidents. They are dangerous because they can cause drivers to drift out their lane, miss changes in traffic, have less time to respond to road conditions, and more.
Rhode Island Distracted Driving Law
Currently, texting while driving is banned in the state of Rhode Island for all drivers. Drivers younger than 18 are also not allowed to talk on a cell phone behind the wheel. However, some lawmakers have been pushing for stricter laws. Recently, a new law that would ban all handheld device use for all drivers was approved by the state Senate. Should the bill be approved by the state House of Representatives, it would take effect in 2017.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an auto accident with a distracted driver, you may be able to obtain compensation. Contact an experienced Rhode Island car accident attorney at KLF Law at 401-421-0300 to discuss your case and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.