Inattentive drivers are becoming a real hazard on today’s roads. In this fast-paced world, it seems more and more drivers are likely to be multitasking while operating a motor vehicle. A recent study in which 100 drivers were videotaped from within their cars, showed that a record number of drivers are paying less attention to the road and the safety of themselves and those around them and paying more attention to tasks inside of the car. The video footage revealed that drivers are doing everything from the age-old things such as eating, drinking, reading, applying makeup, retrieving an object or assisting a child with something, to using new technology or gadgets in their cars. More commonly these days, drivers are retrieving directions on GPS systems, checking emails, talking or dialing on cell phones, text messaging, choosing CDs, adjusting the radio equipment or simply looking at something else that has captured their attention.
Nearly 80% of collisions or near-collisions are caused by distracted drivers that are attempting to multitask. The problem does not necessarily occur when the driver is looking away or being distracted, but when they attempt to refocus on driving. Often times a dangerous situation has presented itself while the driver was distracted and they are then forced to respond quickly to the situation at hand. Because the driver has less time to respond to the situation, they are unable to react safely and properly.
It has been a long time belief that distractions were to blame for many accidents, but the study reveals that these interruptions are far more dangerous and causing more accidents than was ever realized before. The study concluded that cell phone usage was the most frequently observed distraction for drivers. Drivers who were attempting to multitask doing such things as reading, applying makeup, or dialing a cell phone were three times as likely to have an accident. Drivers who were reaching for an object in the vehicle increased their chance of having an accident by 900%.
Among motorists, young drivers ages 18-20 are 400% more apt to be involved in accidents that involve multitasking behind the wheel. These drivers were also found to be more aggressive, use bad judgment, or to be involved in activities behind the wheel that are distracting and likely to lead to an accident.
Drowsy motorists are also to blame for accidents or near-accidents. The study concluded that lethargic drivers are four to six times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers who are alert and focused on the road.
The reality is that these drivers are behind the wheel and on our roads every day. Drivers are losing control and causing life-altering and even fatal accidents. One family was left devastated after being involved in an accident with a distracted truck driver. The driver lost control of the vehicle when he reached to grab his water bottle that had fallen to the floor. One child was left with severe brain damage and the other family members suffered serious physical injuries.
Although the stories are tragic and the figures are staggering, drivers are not making attempts to correct these habits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is emphasizing the fact that drivers need to stop multitasking and start driving. It’s time for motorists to realize the importance of paying attention while driving and that their safety and the safety of other people on the roads depends on the choices they are making.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident as a result of inattentive drivers, please contact a personal injury lawyer such as Long & Long in Mobile, Alabama immediately.