Motor vehicle accidents always seem to be in the news, with daily incidents of side swipes, wrong-way drivers and rear-end collisions. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2018 an estimated 400,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver, and one in five people who died in such accidents were not in a vehicle, but were walking, biking or simply outside.
Every day, eight people in America are killed by a distracted driver. Young people appear to be particularly distracted, as 25% of drivers involved in fatal crashes were aged 20 to 29, while those aged 15 to 19 appear to be even more likely to be distracted when driving than older drivers.
What distracted driving looks like
Anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road or one or both hands off the wheel, even for a split second, is considered to be a distraction. This can include turning on the radio while driving, checking the GPS settings, looking in the rearview mirror while talking to someone in the backseat, eating a sandwich, checking or writing a text, or using a cell phone to make a call.
According to the CDC, when a driver is reading a text while driving 55 miles per hour, it is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Ohio laws distracted driving laws
While talking on a cellphone while driving is now banned in more than a dozen states, most states, including Ohio, have laws just banning texting while driving. In Ohio, the device may be used for emergency purposes or while driving if it is hands-free, used for navigation purposes or to enter a name when making a call. Underage drivers are prohibited from using a cellphone for any reason.
Ohio is one of many other states that has a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that helps new drivers to gain experience under low-risk conditions. One of the staging components of these programs addresses distracted driving.
Other prevention measures from some states include distracted driver awareness campaigns that highlight developing good driving habits that avoid multi-tasking while behind the wheel of a car. Some states have also installed rumble strips on highway systems to alert distracted or drowsy drivers before they drift into another lane.
For residents of Akron and surrounding areas who are coping in the aftermath of a car accident caused by driver negligence, it is important to have the skilled legal resources necessary to pursue just compensation for the damages suffered.