Distracted driving has become an epidemic in Michigan and throughout the United States. The main problem with distracted driving is that a lot of drivers are overconfident and think that they are fully capable of operating a vehicle while doing other things. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Anything that takes a motorist’s attention away from the road is considered a distraction. When a Michigan motor vehicle accident is being investigated, distracted driving is a major aspect that is evaluated to determine whether it contributed to the crash.
Forms of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving occurs in three forms, either singularly or in combination: visual, manual, and cognitive. A visual distraction is when a driver takes their eyes off of the road. Just as dangerous is a manual distraction in which a motorist takes their hands off of the wheel. The last form of distracted driving, cognitive, occurs when a driver takes their mind off of driving. It has been now determined that texting on a cell phone while driving involves all of these three forms of distraction.
Michigan Cell Phone Law
The Michigan texting ban is primary, which means that a law enforcement officer does not need to have another reason aside from a driver texting while driving to stop the vehicle before giving a citation for the driver using a cell phone. In spite of studies that have demonstrated the use of a cell phone while driving delaying a motorist’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08%, there is not a cell phone law in Michigan that prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones while driving or a ban specifically geared towards young drivers or bus drivers.
Distracted Driving Statistics and Accident Types
Based on data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, the most recent year that statistics are available, about 5,474 individuals were killed in the U.S. and an additional 448,000 suffered injury in accidents involving distracted driving. Aside from texting while driving or talking on a cell phone while driving, Michigan distracted driver accidents also occur when a motorist does any of the following while driving:
- watches a video;
- eats and/or drinks;
- puts make-up on;
- talks to passengers;
- reads maps or other items;
- changes the radio, CD, or MP3 player; or
- uses a global positioning system (GPS).
Doing any of these activities or other forms of distractions while driving, even for a second, significantly increases the chance that a driver will cause an accident. None of these distractions are worth a person suffering a spinal cord injury or being killed. Distracted drivers put their own lives at risk as well as their passengers and others on the road. It is important for distracted driving prevention to start with awareness. Parents have an especially important role in this as it is their duty to educate their teens about the many risks involved in distracted driving. NHTSA data indicates that 16 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes in 2009 were reported to have been distracted while at the wheel. An increased level of awareness can help decrease these numbers.
Legal Experience You Can Count On
At Lipton Law, our Southfield traffic accident attorneys have the legal experience and knowledge to hold distracted drivers liable for the injuries and other losses you and your family have suffered. We are committed to helping you obtain compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call us today at 800-CAR-CRASH for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can protect your legal rights.