Is Distracted Driving the Number One Killer on Kentucky Roads?
“Buckle Up and Phone Down” is the new safety mantra for Kentucky roads, and for good reasons. With nearly 300 fatalities per year attributed to distracted drivers, Kentucky has the notoriety of being in the third position on a list of 25 worst states for distracted driving.
Add to this the fact that Kentucky is also on the list of the most dangerous states to drive in and it’s easy to understand why 3 lawmakers are working overtime to introduce a hands-free driving law in 2020.
The ugly truth about distracted driving
Distracted driving car accidents makes most question the senselessness of a negligent act that can kill or maim one or more people. Of course, everybody realizes that inattentiveness while behind the wheel is dangerous.
But, the big problem is that very few drivers out there are willing to admit that this is as much their problem as that of the other motorists on the road. In fact, many drive around under the fallacy that while they can handle using their cell phones and driving safely at the same time, it’s only the other motorists who cannot manage the feat! The truth is:
- It only takes 3 seconds of inattentiveness to cause a crash, but texting causes people to take their eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds!
- Using a cell phone in any way can reduce the mental resources that should be devoted to driving by as much as 40%.
- According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is the culprit in almost 80% of all crashes and 65% of near-misses.
- The Kentucky State Police lists driver inattentiveness as the top contributing factor for collisions.
- In 2017, distracted driving led to 1100 crashes in Kentucky; nine lives were lost in those accidents.
Are cell phones the only distraction?
Not at all! But they do happen to be a huge problem. The Public Affairs Commander of Kentucky State Police put it succinctly when he said that using a cell phone when behind the wheel is much like driving after downing a few beers. The users are buzzed to the point where they don’t notice how and when they got from point A to point B.
He blamed the cognitive lapse on the fact that people unknowingly end up looking at their screens for a minute or more while driving at 60 miles per hour. This would mean that they get through multiple football fields at that speed without once peering up to see the cars and pedestrians right in front of their vehicle.
Distracted driving is just as bad as drunk driving!
In a study done by the University of Utah, the researchers concluded that both hands free and handheld use of cell phones slows down the reaction time of motorists as much as a blood alcohol content of 0. 08%.
Despite this, more than half of all drivers report using their cell phones in some manner while driving. And, no, this is not an age specific thing. In one survey, over 30% drivers in the broad age range of 18 to 65 years confessed to using their cell phones for sending emails and text messages while they were driving.
Yes, distractions can come in different forms!
The University of Kentucky analyzed the traffic collision data of the state and concluded that the three human factors: distraction, inattention and the use of cell phones are responsible for a massive 43% of all collisions in Kentucky. Undoubtedly, the allure of the small screen is a problem but distractions do come from various sources and in different forms. In fact, they can be clubbed into 4 categories:
- In-car distractions: This is just about everything in the car that can draw your attention away from the road. It could be the weather control or music system of even the GPS. Reaching out to change the song or set the GPS or adjusting the temperature system can all engage your cognitive, visual and manual resources, thus increasing the risk of a crash. Ditto for lack of familiarity with a particular vehicle, its systems and technology; these also engage the mind and move your focus away from the road.
- Out of car distractions: As the name suggests, this refers to all visual and auditory aspects outside the vehicle that make you do a double take. So, everything from a construction or accident site to a controversial or unusual billboard that attracts your attention can lead to trouble.
- Internal distractions: These include everything from day dreaming to enjoying music or the outdoor scenery. Also, illnesses, physical injuries, and effects of medication are all distractions in this category.
- External distractions: Last but certainly not the least are all other non-mental and non-auto aspects inside the car that grab your attention. Case in point, passengers, pets, bugs, food, drinks and everything else that distracts your eyes from the road.
No matter what causes it, a distraction is always dangerous!
Make no mistake, distraction in all its forms is dangerous. After all, the human brain is designed to handle only one task at a time, which is why most of us fumble at multitasking. So, when you force that noggin to divide its resources, it is bound to be a recipe for trouble. Take a look at just how much trouble:
- Experienced drivers are more susceptible to out of car distractions while inexperienced drivers succumb more easily to in-car distractions.
- Outside (out of car) distractions (rubbernecking) lead to almost 8% of all distracted driving crashes and cause more than half of all intersection accidents.
- Time spent in adjusting temperature, music and other devices or control systems cause almost 2% of all accidents.
- Eating and drinking while driving are responsible for almost 2% of all distracted driving crashes.
- Jabbering away with other occupants leads to 5% of all inattentive/distracted driving accidents.
- Cell phone usage contributes to 15% of all crashes.
- Children, pets and day dreaming collectively contribute to nearly one half of all inattentiveness-related and distracted driving mishaps.
You should not have to pay for the lapses and the negligence of a distracted driver!
Distracted and inattentive drivers lose their situational awareness and their ability to rapidly react to a potential crash risk. In turn, this hampers their ability to maintain proper lane position, to quickly engage the brakes, to make defensive maneuvers and to obey traffic signs and signals.
Is a crash inevitable in such a scenario? Yes! But, more importantly we should be asking- whose fault is/was it? Off course completely and entirely that of the inattentive motorist. However, you can count on this driver’s insurance company to twist the narrative in order to limit and even eliminate the blame on their clients.
After all, that is the only way they can avoid paying you the compensation that is justly yours. This is where a skilled attorney with experience in handling cases for victims of distracted driving accidents can come to your rescue.
At Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we have a great track record helping our clients that were injured by distracted drivers. So, if you have suffered injuries in a crash that involved a distracted driver, contact us today by phone at 502-888-8888, chat or email and so that our experienced attorneys can ensure that you get the fair compensation you deserve.