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NHTSA Leads National Campaign to End Distracted Driving

Close-up of a woman holding a smartphone while behind the wheel, texting and driving.

Distracted driving poses a significant threat to road users nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated a comprehensive campaign to address this issue.

This campaign aims to raise awareness and promote safe driving practices by targeting common distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, and eating while driving.

The NHTSA's strategy includes public education, enforcement measures, and partnerships to advocate for the use of hands-free technology, thereby minimizing a driver’s tendency to be distracted.

Distracted driving is a choice. The behavior is illegal in most states and can result in fines, license suspension, and civil liability for accidents. Yet distracted driving accidents continue to occur. This is a direct impact of the rise in technology and activities we can now do or things we can observe inside the car while driving. By supporting the NHTSA's efforts and practicing safe driving habits, we can help decrease distracted driving and make our roads safer for everyone.

The Campaign; Put the Phone Away; Or Pay.

The NHTSA's "Put the Phone Away or Pay" campaign targets distracted driving, especially cell phone use while driving. In 2022, 3,308 fatalities and nearly 290,000 injuries resulted from distracted driving incidents relating to phone usage.

Notably, about 20% of those killed were pedestrians, cyclists, or others outside vehicles.

The campaign aims to deter distracted driving through high-visibility enforcement efforts due to challenges in accurately reporting such incidents. The core messaging in NHTSA's campaign includes:

  • Distracted drivers, especially those who text or use cell phones, endanger innocent lives on the road, causing harm to victims of their reckless behavior.
  • Assigning a trusted passenger as a "designated texter" is a responsible choice, demonstrating a commitment to safety and avoiding distractions while driving.
  • Refraining from using social media or messaging apps while driving, using the phone's "Do Not Disturb" feature, or stowing it out of reach if you are struggling to resist texting can help prevent accidents caused by distraction.
  • Witnessing someone texting while driving should serve as a reminder of the dangers posed by distracted drivers, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing safety on the road and listening to passengers' concerns.

Distracted driving statistics and research

Certain age groups, particularly drivers aged 15 to 34 and those 75 and older, show higher rates of distraction during fatal crashes. To address this, 36 states and the District of Columbia prohibit new drivers from using cell phones in any capacity while driving, except for possibly following a map or driving direction application.

Here are some more potentially helpful things we know about distracted drivers:

  • In 2022, there were 3,308 people killed and an estimated additional 289,310 people injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. While distracted driving decreased nationwide by 6 percent, thousands of people are still being killed by a negligent lack of focus behind the wheel.
  • The highest level of distraction is 6 am to 12 pm or noon, coinciding with peak traffic congestion, according to research.
  • Distracted driving accidents are most likely to cause injuries to the thorax, face, head, or extremities.
  • A recent study analyzed distractions in several dozen distracted driving-related accidents. Distractions included 19 drivers who were distracted by mobile phones, 12 who were preoccupied with deep thinking, 6 who were engaged in conversation with other passengers, 4 who were picking items within the vehicle, and 3 who were using entertainment systems.

We know how to prove fault in distracted driving accidents

Sometimes, even the safest drivers get hit by distracted drivers and other negligent motorists. When that happens, it's important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.

Proving distracted driving in an insurance claim is challenging as drivers frequently deny engaging in such behavior. The sooner a lawyer gets started investigating the crash, the better.

An experienced car accident attorney can help gather crucial evidence to prove distracted driving. This may include obtaining cell phone records, analyzing surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and utilizing accident reconstruction experts.

At Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC, we can build a strong case to hold the distracted driver accountable and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages. If you've been injured in a distracted driving accident, contact our office for a free case evaluation. Based in Rockville, we serve the DMV region.

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