In our last two blogs we covered two ends of the spectrum – teenage and older drivers. Now it’s time to talk about everyone in between! And that means the family and working drivers…drivers that have a lot on their minds and might easily become distracted and involved in a car accident. Let’s review a few timely tips.
Chances are you have a job but still have to get your children ready and drive them to school. Or, you may be a stay at home parent with both school and pre-school age children. Regardless, you are often in the position of having your children and perhaps even their friends in your vehicle and can easily become distracted. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are the number one killer of children ages 1 through 12 in the United States. Keep your children safe and remember to follow a few safety rules:
- Never let children fight or climb around in the vehicle. It’s distracting to the driver and could easily lead to someone getting injured.
- Young children should be secured in a car seat. Is it the right car seat? Does it “fit” your child?
- Require your older children to always wear seat belts, regardless of how short the drive may be.
- Remember that vans or large SUVs are very “roomy” and if involved in a car accident can throw the occupants around inside the vehicle and cause injury. It’s even more important to buckle up or secure children in proper fitting car seats than it is in standard automobiles.
Distractions are the number one cause of being involved in a car accident – regardless of road type. Distraction is often referred to as a “21st Century epidemic”. Statistics back up that statement showing that 3,328 people died because of distraction-related car accidents in 2012. Distraction has become such a concern the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has a website that deals strictly with distractions.
The DOT has identified key types of distractions as:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player
Our guess is that we have all been guilty of one or more of those distractions…more than once. Avoid being involved in, or causing, a car accident and think twice before letting yourself become distracted. Here are some more sobering facts to help make our case against distraction:
- Approximately 660,000 drivers use a cell phone or electronic device while driving. (Source: National Occupant Protection Use Surveys – NOPUS)
- Texting keeps the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. This doesn’t seem like a long time, but if you are traveling at 55 mph, it’s equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded. (Source: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI)
- Phone headsets are not substantially safer than hand-held phones. (Source: VTTI)
All of the above information is merely the tip of the iceberg. There is a world of useful information on how to avoid being in a car accident online – information that we’ve most likely forgotten, such as, “Spell S-T-O-P when stopping at a stop sign in order to prevent proceeding through the intersection too soon”.
Our hopes are that all of you buckle up, stay focused, watch your speed (and other drivers) and avoid being in a car accident! We will come back to this subject in the future with more safe driving tips.
Call Carey Leisure & Neal for Legal Services in Clearwater, FL
Contact us at (727) 799-3900 for a free no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.