Across the United States, eight out of every ten automobile accidents are a result of some type of inattention by the driver within three seconds of the crash. It’s hardly a surprise that distraction behind the wheel is a problem; our busy lives have us multi-tasking in nearly every activity we engage in. Many of us drive to work with the average one-way commute being approximately 25 minutes, although at least 8% of Americans have a one-way commute of one hour or longer. We also taxi children to school/sports activities and run a multitude of errands on a daily basis. Finally, even though nearly all adults agree that texting or e-mailing while driving is unacceptable, a full one-third of them continue to engage in these extremely risky behaviors. Some forms of driver inattention or distraction include:
- Eating—Due to the longer commutes to work, a large percentage of Americans eat in their vehicle from time to time. Eating accounts for over two percent of accidents caused by distractions, although that number is considerably higher for long-haul truckers whose tight deadlines have them frequently engaging in their own form of “Meals on Wheels”. Focusing on eating while attempting to keep at least one hand on the wheel can be a dangerous combination, and one that can be easily resolved by taking five to ten minutes to stop and eat your meal on the side of the road or other safe spot.
- Changing radio stations or interacting with the GPS—Traveling down the freeway at 70 mph while attempting to program a destination into your GPS system, or fiddling with the radio, are common causes of auto crashes and, dangerous near-misses. In the same vein, adjusting climate controls, mirrors or seat positions is better done before you actually begin driving to avoid harming yourself and others.
- Children, pets and friends—Of course, we all love our families, friends and pets. However, any of them can be responsible for serious distractions while driving. In fact, having children in the car is considered to be four times as distracting as driving with only adults while an infant in the car brings nearly eight times the distraction. Mothers in particular are well-known for turning away from the wheel to hand a child a toy or juice box or even to aim a swat at a misbehaving child. It’s important to teach your children from the time they are small that driving is a serious endeavor which requires your full attention. Never ever allow pets to roam the vehicle or sit in your lap, and if you are driving with a full car load of friends or family members, ask that the noise level be kept down.
- Phone use—Talking on the phone is a major distraction which is responsible for over a million and a half accidents per year, and texting has, unfortunately been the key cause of many fatalities. Remember that no phone call or text is worth a life.
- Other common distractions—Although it’s hard to imagine for most drivers, the majority of us have been witness to a driver applying makeup, reading a book, trying to read an unfolded map, or even typing on a laptop while behind the wheel. Keep your mind on your driving and your hands on the wheel and save your serious daydreaming for later.
If you are the victim of an automobile accident due to an inattentive driver, and you have been left with significant injuries as a result, we can help. Our team of legal professionals has been helping drivers injured by the negligence of others for over thirty years. Overall, our goal is to ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve for the damages you sustained. We understand how difficult the time following an accident can be, and we want to ease your burden by helping you with the issues you will face regarding vehicle repairs, property damage settlement, obtaining proper medical treatment, etc. Call the Koederitz Law Firm today at (225) 295-9494 for a free consultation with Gary P. Koederitz, a Louisiana car accident attorney with extensive experience related to automobile accident and injury claims.