In California and throughout the United States, distracted driving has been a major topic of conversation for road safety. The problem has been getting progressively worse not only because people have cellphones in their hands and are constantly connected in professional and personal ways but also because automobiles are now equipped with distracting technology.
This adds a layer to the potential risks on the road along with reckless drivers, speeders, drivers who are under the influence and drowsy drivers. Any auto accident can cause injuries and death. Some happen due to circumstances. Distraction is a completely avoidable issue if drivers are educated and there are legal consequences for it.
Although researchers, safety advocates, automakers, cellphone companies and law enforcement are trying to find ways to reduce the number of people who drive distracted, the statistics show that it is a persistent challenge. After an accident, thinking about whether it was because of distraction is a natural question and, unfortunately, the answer is often yes. Having assistance in the aftermath is important.
NHTSA statistics show distracted driving is getting worse
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its latest comprehensive report on distracted driving. For anyone who thought that distraction was on the decline, this is a revelation. For 2021—the most recent year for which the NHTSA could give in depth numbers—there were more than 3,500 distracted driving fatalities in the United States.
This is not a coincidence. A survey that was recently conducted discovered that 70% of those who took part stated that distraction was getting worse. Approximately one in three said they almost had an accident because of a distracted driver. Even though people realize the possibility of distraction causing an accident, they admit to doing it.
Almost eight in 10 said they took calls or made them while driving. More than half said they read texts or emails. Three-quarters said they used their device for directions. Twenty-eight percent used social media and 27% took pictures or filed videos.
The NHTSA says that as many as three in 10 fatal collisions might have distraction as a critical factor. The numbers from 2020 to 2021 got worse. In 2020, there were more than 3,100 fatalities. Nearly 325,000 people were injured in these types of crashes.
This report comes as April is dedicated to reducing the practice with Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In Sonoma County, law enforcement embarked on a campaign to give citations to distracted drivers. Drivers are not allowed to hold a device in their hands and use it while driving, but many do so regardless of the law. Officers were set to be more vigilant about distracted drivers to make sure they understand the consequences for their actions.
After an accident, people will need professional help deciding on the next steps
Given the popularity of Sonoma County and the surrounding areas as a tourist attraction, it is worrisome that many drivers are ignoring the risk of distraction and using their devices behind the wheel. Anyone can face medical expenses from catastrophic injuries, the inability to work, obstacles with contributing to a family and more because of a motor vehicle crash. If it was because of a distracted driver, knowing this can be key to holding the other driver accountable.
In these cases, it is wise to have professional assistance in dealing with insurance companies, gathering evidence as to what happened, making sure there is an accurate accounting of all that was lost and seeking a fair amount in compensation. It is imperative to consult with professionals who understand all perspectives of personal injury, are aggressive, meticulous and will do whatever they can to protect those who have been hurt.