Exploring the Dangers of Distracted Driving in Northridge, California
Posted on September 13, 2023
Distracted driving is a huge problem across the country because it diverts the driver’s attention from the road. While much of it is due to cell phone use, other distractions can lead to devastating crashes with deadly consequences.
Even with distracted driving laws, there are still countless drivers who engage in this behavior, putting everyone on the road at risk.
Facts About the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Many factors can lead to a crash, though distracted driving is by far one of the top causes of traffic accidents in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 9 people are killed in this country every day in distracted driving accidents. Furthermore, the data shows that 3,100 people lost their lives in this type of accident in 2020.
If you do anything else that takes your attention off the road while driving, it is distracted driving. By taking your eyes off the road when using a cell phone, eating, drinking, or doing something else, you could swerve or miss traffic signals or stop signs.
What’s truly terrifying is how much a person could miss when they are distracted. According to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving while distracted at 55 miles per hour for just 5 seconds is equivalent to driving an entire football field with your eyes closed.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can occur with any activity that takes a person’s attention from driving. There are three types of distractions, and some of them often overlap.
Any distraction that causes someone to take their eyes off the road is a visual distraction. It could be as simple as checking directions on a GPS, changing songs on Spotify, adjusting temperature controls, or grabbing for an item that has rolled onto the floor.
Distractions that cause drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel are manual distractions. Eating, drinking, smoking, changing radio stations, or setting a destination on the navigation system are all common examples.
Distracted drivers may also face cognitive distractions which take focus and concentration away from the task of driving. Talking to other passengers in the vehicle, stress, fatigue, or driving under the influence all fall into this category of distracted driving.
Any distracted driver, regardless of the distraction, is less likely to engage in safe driving tactics when the weather is inclement or if there’s a hazard in the road. Texting while driving is among the most common and dangerous of distractions because it involves all three types of distractions.
Even though there are laws that make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving except in a hands-free manner, distracted driving accidents are still a regular occurrence. California has banned texting and only allows the use of voice commands to get drivers to keep their full attention on the road.
If you were hurt by a distracted driver, you should contact a car accident attorney in Northridge, California to ensure they are held accountable for their dangerous actions.
How Many Vehicle Accidents Are Caused by Distracted Driving in California?
Despite all the laws and public service announcements to keep people safe, distracted drivers are still present on the roadways. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides statistics on distracted driving, citing cell phone use as the top reason for violations.
In 2022, data from the CHP showed that 9,733 people were injured and 96 people lost their lives in crashes that were caused by distracted driving. Even though cell phones are among the biggest distractions, it is clear that just about anything that diverts attention from the road can impact reaction time, and it can have devastating consequences.
What Is California Doing to Prevent Distracted Driving?
Perhaps the most upsetting thing about distracted driving is that they are completely preventable. California is doing its part through the CHP, which launched a statewide traffic safety program called “Distracted Driving Education for Adult Drivers.” This program complements the one that targets distracted driving for teenagers.
Other public awareness campaigns in the state are meant to help curb distracted driving. “Put Your Phone Down. Just Drive,” and “Silence the Distraction” are two that have been successful in getting through to the public. These campaigns help build awareness and show that it’s not just cell phones that can be dangerous. With an emphasis on showing that searching the GPS and shuffling through music selections are as dangerous as texting, the way to prevent distracted driving is by putting phones down and focusing on driving.
Additionally, California set a new driving law into motion in 2021 known as AB 47. This law imposes additional penalties for drivers who violate the extant hands-free law. Drivers once had to pay a fine for using their phones without wireless connections. Now, drivers get a point on their driving record that will remain for a minimum of 36 months.
It is hoped that this addition to the law will reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road. All age groups are equally guilty of engaging in this risky behavior, which often leads to fatal crashes.
Get Help From Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers in Los Angeles, CA
Risky behaviors, which include distracted driving, can lead to car crashes that will most likely leave you suffering from a personal injury. While many states have laws against this behavior, particularly California, it isn’t always enough.
If you were involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, police reports are among the most crucial evidence. The officer may state that distracted driving was to blame.
You will also need a personal injury attorney in Northridge, California when you’ve been hurt by a distracted driver. Your life could have been severely affected because someone else was careless while talking or texting on the phone.
In California, texting is banned, and handheld device usage is prohibited while behind the wheel. For drivers under the age of 18, cell phone use is forbidden for any reason while driving, even with hands-free operation.
You can contact The King Law Firm for additional information and to get a personal injury attorney with experience in distracted driving cases. You will have someone working on your behalf to maximize your compensation. Drivers that don’t engage in safe driving practices should be held responsible for the destruction they leave behind.
If you were injured in a car wreck caused by a distracted driver, or your loved one lost their life, talk to The King Law Firm today.