By: Allan M. Siegel
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and transportation
safety officials throughout the country are making efforts to educate
motorists about the dangers of distractions behind the wheel. Considered
a national epidemic on public roadways, distracted driving causes thousands
of injuries and deaths each year - and officials are looking to put an
end to these preventable crashes.
To help express how serious the distracted driving problem has become,
officials are citing a number of alarming statistics from organizations
like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here are a few key states about distracted driving:
- National traffic crash data estimates that in 2013, more than 3,100 people
were killed and over 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving
- All distractions are considered dangerous - including eating and drinking,
talking with passengers, and adjusting the radio. Text messaging is considered
the most dangerous form of driver distracted because it engages motorists
visually, manually, and cognitively and increases crash risks by four
times, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).
Younger drivers ages 16-24 are the age group most likely to be involved
in distracted driving accidents. In a recent blog, we detailed a AAA study
which found that distracted driving played a role in nearly 60% of
teen distracted driving crashes.
In addition to raising awareness, federal officials have encouraged law
enforcement agencies across the nation to increase their efforts for high
visibility enforcement of distracted driving laws. As announced by U.S.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Washington, DC earlier this month,
law enforcement will be aggressively ticketing drivers who text or use
mobile phones as part of the "U Drive. U Text. U Pay" campaign.
Here is a reminder of current distracted driving laws in the District of Columbia:
- Handheld devices - including handheld use of cell phones - are banned for
drivers of all ages.
- Text messaging is banned for drivers of all ages.
- Cell phones (handheld and hands-free) are banned for bus drivers and novice drivers.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we fully support local
and national efforts to raise awareness about distracted driving. Throughout
the years, we've seen the dangers of driver distraction personally,
and encourage everyone to be vigilant behind the wheel. For more information about
distracted driving accidents and the rights of injured victims,
contact our firm today.