Although some people are aware of the statistics, the fact of the matter is, distracted drivers are quietly causing a huge amount of carnage on our highways. Distracted driving includes talking on a cell phone, sending text messages, reaching for an object inside the vehicle, eating food, or applying makeup.
According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 80% of automobile accidents and 65% of near accidents involve at least some form of driver distraction within 3 seconds of the crash or near-miss.
As a result, police in Alberta have begun aggressively ticketing people that engage in distracted driving, which endangers other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Texting and Driving
Not surprisingly the NHTSA study concluded that text messaging on a cell phone was associated with the highest risk of all cell phone related tasks. In fact, text messaging increases the risk of a car accident or near car accident 23.2 times when compared to the car accident statistics with non distracted drivers!
Not surprisingly again, teenagers engage in cell phone tasks more frequently and also do so more frequently while driving. This results in teens being 4 times more likely to get into a distracted driver-related car crash or near-crash than adults.
A two day Blackberry outage in the Middle East in 2011 coincided with a 40% reduction in accidents in Abu Dhabi.
We have to ask ourselves as a society is it worth the carnage on our highways, the deaths and serious injuries that distracted driving through cell phone usage and texting causes. We have to admit we are not that important that a text message cannot wait 5 minutes until we get to our destination. It is not worth the risk of killing someone on the highway or the road in the city while you look down at your phone for a few seconds.
It is unfortunate that cell phone manufacturers have the technology with the GPS built into the cell phone, to disable cell phones in conjunction with the vehicle being operated over a certain speed. Why don’t we demand this as a society? Contact your MLA and complain, we need tougher laws and cell phone companies should be held responsible for creating the technology, yet not going that extra step to make the technology safe for driving.
Distracted Driving in Alberta
If you have been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by a distracted driver, then call us now for a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer. We have many locations in Alberta to serve you including Calgary, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat.
Our injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe nothing until we recover a settlement or judgment on your behalf. If you have been injured or killed by a distracted driver one way to hold that distracted driver accountable, in addition to receiving compensation for yourself, is to bring a civil lawsuit against that distracted driver. We will claim, in addition to your compensation, punitive damages against the driver for the gregarious conduct of distracted driving. These punitive damages may be paid personally by the distracted driver and not by the distracted driver’s auto insurance company. This will certainly hold distracted drivers more accountable once these civil lawsuits make their way through the courts.
Alberta should follow the lead of Ontario, Ontario has continually increased the penalties, now set to reach $1,000.00 and 3 demerit points, for distracted driving. The reason for the latest increase, the province declared, was that the problem continues to worsen: auto fatalities from distracted driving are forecast to exceed those from drunk driving by 2016.