Car accidents are an everyday occurrence in Kansas City, Missouri. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, and Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) are just a few of the organizations dedicated to reducing the number of traffic accidents so fewer lives are lost or destroyed by severe injury. In addition, several public figures are just as concerned and active in the fight to raise public awareness and make our roadways safer.
The Distracted Driving Problem
Distracted driving is cited as the cause in 20% of accidents nationwide. But this number does not account for the actual number of times a cell phone or other distraction contributed to an accident: it only accounts for the times when a distraction was obviously the cause, and/or someone admitted to or witnessed the actual distraction. If it were easier to track and report accidents caused by distracted driving, the numbers would be much higher.
2009 National Statistics
- 448,000 injured in distracted driving car accidents
- 5,474, people killed
- 16% of fatal accidents involved a distracted driver
There are more mobile/wireless users in the United States than anywhere else in the world. In June of 2011, there were 322.9 million wireless subscribers in the US--who sent 196.9 billion text messages in that month alone. Ten years ago, in June 2001, there were 33.5 million text messages sent. That's an increase of almost 6,000 times.
These numbers represent the totals for cell phone usage in general, not necessarily for usage in a vehicle. However, as we all know, a significant number of people do use phones while driving, raising the risk for distracted driving traffic accidents. Studies show that texting and driving is essentially the same as driving after four drinks. Just talking on the phone while behind the wheel makes it four times more likely that you will be involved in an accident.
Distracted driving--particularly using a cell phone while you drive--has become very common. Similarly, drinking and driving used to be much more common, and much more socially acceptable. It took decades of public safety messages, tougher laws, and concentrated enforcement like sobriety check points to change the public opinion about drunk driving. Now, cell phone use needs to be targeted in the same way, and that is where the "No Phone Zone" pledge comes in.
Oprah Winfrey started the No Phone Zone Pledge in January 2010, when she aired an episode dedicated to showing people the dangers of distracted driving. Oprah brought real people to the show to tell the story that the numbers can't: on a regular basis, people die and families are broken because of a driver's choice to talk or text while behind the wheel. Watch the episode here. Then, you can sign the pledge and share the message with everyone in your life.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident that involved distracted driving, you should speak to a lawyer to discuss your options: a lawyer can help you sort through the legal components of a car accident injury claim. Contact the Kansas City, Missouri car accident lawyers and schedule a free consultation meeting now.