April 4, 2014

It’s springtime in Pennsylvania, and the April weather allows us to finally escape the difficult driving conditions of the past winter. Authorities are quick to caution drivers not to become complacent, however. Car accidents can happen in any weather, and they can occur for any number of reasons.

Distracted driving is a significant cause of car accidents in Pennsylvania and across the country. The dangers are such that April has been declared Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was a factor in more than 387,000 motor vehicle injuries in 2011. It also contributed to more than 3,000 deaths.

Modern technology has made it easier to be distracted. Cellphone and smart phone use on the roads has skyrocketed in recent years, contributing to the dangers. Particularly concerning is the practice of texting while driving, which involves not only visual distraction, but manual distraction as well. Many drivers try to reduce the risks associated with cellphone use and driving by using a hands-free headset, but research has shown these are ineffective at improving safety.

The American Automobile Association recently released a list of things drivers can do to avoid becoming distracted behind the wheel. Avoiding cellphone use is on the list, but so are other activities such as personal grooming, snacking and securing children and pets. In general, AAA warns that any activity that takes your attention away from the road is a distraction and should be avoided if at all possible.

Of course, drivers who do everything right can still be injured by a driver who acts negligently. Those who are injured by a distracted driver have the right to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits are often used to repay the losses associated with medical debt, lost wages, physical impairment and emotional suffering.

Source: WATE-TV, “AAA recognizes distracted driving awareness month with safety tips” Drew Gardner, Apr. 01, 2014