Distracted Driving: What is it and Why Does it Matter to Kansas City Missouri Drivers
If you drive anywhere in Jackson, Clay, Platte, or Cass Counties you have seen someone driving while texting or while talking on their cell phone. In fact you may have done it yourself. Almost all of us have. You might even wonder, "So what's the big deal? Everybody does it." The lawyers of the car accident firm that serves Clay, Platte, Cass and Jackson County Missouri have an answer for you. This practice is called Distracted Driving. And Distracted Driving results in traffic crashes in Kansas City and everywhere else.
Why Talk About Distracted Driving in Kansas City and Surrounding Missouri?
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has made a large commitment and dedicated focus on the goal of reducing Distracted Driving. The reason is that Distracted Driving leads to traffic accidents, injuries from traffic accidents and traffic deaths. The DOT is so committed they have created a separate website called Distraction.gov.
It is almost impossible to know just how many traffic accidents in Jackson County Missouri and the rest of the State are due to cell phone use. Cell phone use as a cause is not tracked the way drinking, speeding, or other traffic violations are when they contribute to a traffic crash. Also how often a cell phone or other type of distraction actually causes or contributes to an accident relies on the people involved in the accident to admit to it. So most of the numbers for the amount of traffic accidents that result from cell phone and other types of distraction use are just guestimates and are therefore low.
But there is no doubt that a distracted driver is at a much greater risk of a traffic accident. The numbers that are traceable prove that. The National Safety Council estimates that 25% of all traffic crashes are related to cell phone and texting alone. And that Distracted Driving is under reported.
Distracted Driving Defined
The DOT defines Distracted Driving as "any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing." There are three main types of distraction, which are visual, manual, and cognitive. This means anything that takes your eyes off of the road, takes your hands from the steering wheel, or takes your mind away from the main focus of driving is a distraction.
Some distractions are more dangerous than others. For example texting while driving involves all three types of distraction. What is worse is that these distractions take your focus from driving for longer than 20 seconds, which is all it takes to lose control and end up in a traffic crash.
Beware of These Distracted Driving Activities in Missouri
- Using a cell phone
- Talking to passengers
- Grooming yourself; such as shaving, applying make-up, or combing your hair
- Reading, including a map, GPS device, or other electronic device
- Watching a video
- Changing the radio station, CD, or other music player
- Focusing on your car's information systems
Essentially any activity that takes you from the primary task of driving safely is a distraction and should be avoided. We can all do a better job at focusing on the road. We become so accustomed to driving we do it automatically and this can lead to a traffic crash. Even a hands-free cell phone device can delay your reaction times, since you first have to shift your focus from your conversation to become aware of what is happening on the road.
Kansas City Missouri Traffic Crash Lawyers Take the Pledge
The Kansas City Missouri car accident lawyers and all our staff are taking the pledge to pay more attention when we drive. The DOT public safety announcement ends with "Distracted Driving kills, safe driving starts with you." Let's all pledge to reduce traffic crashes and save the lives that are lost or permanently changed as a result of Distracted Driving traffic accidents.
If you have been injured in a traffic crash and believe Distracted Driving was a factor call 1-888-777-AUTO (2886).