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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The National Safety Council has designated April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in an effort to bring attention to the dangers of distracted driving and the responsibility drivers have to the public while operating a motor vehicle.

The most recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 3,142 individuals lost their lives in distraction-affected crashes in 2020, making up for almost 9% of all traffic fatalities that year, a near 1% rise since 2019. There has been a direct correlation between the increase in accidents due to distracted driving and the surge of smartphones and the use of social media over the last decade.

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) defines distracted driving as anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road, or hands off the steering wheel, but specifically incites texting as a major culprit since it distracts mentally, visually, and physically from driving. Legislators and government officials have attempted to address growing concerns over the distracted driving epidemic with the introduction of educational campaigns and laws that hold the threat of fines and penalties for offenders.

Research has identified that a driver’s age and the number of passengers in a car are two key factors that most affect distracted driving. Fatal crashes caused by distracted driving were highest among 20 to 29-year-olds. The same study also found that driving with fewer passengers in the car creates a much lower probability of being involved in a fatal accident due to distractions.

The California OTS initiated the “Put Your Phone Down. Just Drive” campaign to appeal to younger drivers and members of the “smartphone culture” - specifically, drivers between the ages of 16 to 24. The OTS emphasizes that while texting is a large player in distraction, other functions of a phone can be equally distracting such as selecting music, looking at social media, photos, or a digital map. Prioritizing safety for yourself, your passengers, and other drivers means putting down your phone completely while driving.

Distracted driving is a preventable risk. With its promotional campaign, the State of California urges parents, educators, and employers to demonstrate and dictate proper driving practices, and to educate young drivers about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving. The CDC provides several resources that can be used by parents and schools including how to talk to your teen, apps that limit phone use while driving, and what laws apply in your state. In California, all drivers are banned from using a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle for any purpose unless the device has voice control capability, and drivers under 18 years are prohibited completely from any phone use. Violations are punishable by ticketing, but the larger consequences involve the risk of causing an accident.

If you or a family member has been the victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver, the car accident lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson can help you back on the road to recovery. Our firm has secured over $1 Billion for clients and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© and Super Lawyers®. We utilize extensive resources to investigate our clients’ accidents, identify how distraction played a role, and determine who we can pursue for damages. Our team will handle it all so you can focus on your mental, emotional, and physical recovery.

Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation by calling (888) 831-8448 or completing this online form.