Recent New York state and nationwide statistics provide clear proof that there’s a steady increase in distracted driving accidents. Fortunately, New York Governor Cuomo and a handful of other elected officials are taking decisive action to reduce this menacing threat to all our lives.
Here’s a quick look at some of New York state’s distracted driving statistics, along with others for the entire country. This information is followed by a quick review of the various forms of distracted driving that must be stopped. The article concludes with a look at a few ways we can each protect ourselves against distracted drivers.
Statistics show cell phone use and other distracted driving habits are endangering everyone
New York state police are issuing far more tickets now for cell phone use. In 2017, state police issued over 110,000 of these tickets. Given New York City’s major traffic congestion during rush hours, far more tickets are surely also being issued here;
In fact, New York has recently increased its overall number of annual tickets for texting while driving by 20%;
Back in 2015, over 3,400 Americans died simply due to distracted driving accidents. Of course, thousands more suffered both temporary and permanent injuries during those same incidents;
Two hundred and seventy-two (272) U.S. teenagers died in 2015 due solely to distracted driving accidents. Statistics indicate that roughly 30 percent of all distracted driving accidents are caused by drivers age 29 and under;
The following list should help remind all of us of our personal distracted driving habits that are putting other people’s lives at risk – as well as our own – and those of our passengers.
Most common forms of distracted driving that directly cause serious accidents and deaths
Cell phone use. When drivers fail to place their entire focus and concentration on safe driving, they render everyone else on the road in immediate danger of a fatal accident. Always place your phone calls before driving anywhere – or pull off the road and handle your calls there. No one should have to die because another driver is too lazy to make safe phone calls. Also, the “hands-free” use of a cell phone just for talking is still quite dangerous – driving must be your sole focus;
Handing personal appearance issues in the rearview mirror. Always avoid grooming yourself in any fashion while driving. Women should finish applying their make-up before getting into their vehicles — and men should avoid shaving while on the road;
Consuming food or beverages. Just taking a few seconds to eat a bite out of a wrapped sandwich – or opening a non-alcoholic beverage — can suddenly cause an accident;
Being distracted due to alcohol or drug use that impairs your judgment. We all lose the ability to think as clearly when hampered by alcohol — and even many prescribed drugs. Also, marijuana use can seriously distract or impair many drivers. Driving with too little sleep is also dangerous;
Adjusting GPS settings, looking closely at the GPS screen – or handling a hard-copy map while looking for a specific street or freeway is much too distracting. Always figure out your basic driving route (and alternate ones) before ever leaving your driveway. Also, locate friends’ and other passengers’ addresses prior to leaving home;
Turning your eyes away from the road to talk or look for an object. Many drivers often turn and start visiting with their passengers – or looking for phones or wallets in their cars. Find these objects before leaving home. Should your kids need discipline while you’re driving, pull safely off the road and speak with them there. Also, avoid spending excessive time tuning in specific music or videos for others while driving;
Handle all other critical tasks before you start to drive. Be sure your children are properly strapped into their safety seats before leaving home.
Since there are now far too many stubborn and willful distracted drivers on all our streets, common sense ideas like the following ones may help keep us all safer.
Five ways you can limit your chances of being seriously hurt or killed by a distracted driver
Never tailgate. Also, if you notice that the individual behind you is traveling too close, gently tap your brakes in hopes that your lights will remind that person to quit traveling so close behind you. When you leave at least several car lengths between you and the car in front of you, it’s easier to prevent accidents caused by someone playing with a phone;
Yield the right of way – even to someone speeding through a light or intersection. It’s just not worth being hit by someone who may not even be paying attention to their poor driving behavior;
Drive on fewer days of the week – and use public transportation whenever possible. Since careless drivers are taking over so many roads and freeways, group your errands on just one or two days a week and seriously consider using public transportation on many other days;
Alert the police when too many people are texting at your regular intersections. If you continue to see numerous drivers texting near you in traffic, note the time of day and exact location. When you get home, call up the police department for that borough and ask them to please hand out more distracted driving traffic tickets in that area;
Keep your vehicle in excellent shape – especially your brakes, tires and lights. When your vehicle is properly maintained, you’ll have a much greater chance of preventing an accident when a texting driver is about to hit you.
If you’ve been seriously hurt in a New York City distracted driving accident, please contact our personal injury law firm so our attorneys can review the facts of your case and help you decide if a lawsuit should be filed on your behalf. If we accept your case, you can count on your distracted driving accident attorney to aggressively fight for all the money owed to you for every monetary loss caused by your accident.