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Life is more complex than it used to be, and there are a lot of things fighting for our attention. Stress at our jobs, busy lives outside of work, and technology, among other things, all take up space in our minds. When these distractions get in the way of a task as important and dangerous as driving, however, accidents happen.
Any activity that takes your mind, eyes, or hands off of the steering while is considered a distraction when you’re driving, including activities like eating, grooming, adjusting the air conditioning controls, or talking to your passengers.
It today’s world, distracted cell phone use now includes cell phone use of any kind. Here is what we know about the effects of cell phones on motorists.
Today’s cell phones do a lot more than just make calls. They can be used for talking, texting, taking pictures, entertainment, and navigation. Texting on your cell phone is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving simply because it requires so much attention: You’re looking at your phone, thinking about what you’re about to type, and taking a hand off of the steering while to do it.
Some motorists think that, because cell phones are a big part of their lives, they can text and drive. The fact of the matter is that humans aren’t wired to multi-task to that degree: No one is “good” at texting and driving at the same time, and people pay for these decisions with their lives.
Looking at your phone to read or respond to a text message takes an average of five seconds. When you’re driving at 55 miles per hour, you would have traveled the length of a football field—all without looking at the road. It doesn’t matter if you look up frequently during that time or if you’ve stopped at a red light; it takes about three seconds for your mind to focus again after you’ve checked your phone. There simply isn’t enough time to text and drive.
Each state makes its own laws about distracted driving and cell phones, and Indiana is no exception. In Indiana, drivers under 18 aren’t allowed to use cell phones or other electronic devices while operating a vehicle. It doesn’t matter if they’re talking or texting or if the device is hands-free.
Drivers over the age of 18 are allowed to use hands-free cell phones while driving with restrictions on typing, transmitting, or reading emails and text messages. Both laws are primary laws, meaning that a police officer can pull you over for cell phone use without seeing another violation. The maximum fine for cell phone use while driving is $500.
The easiest way to prevent distracted driving accidents is to stay focused. If you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, your job is to make sure that you’re alert, attentive, and driving defensively. You can’t control whether a driver in another car is using a cell phone, but by staying distraction-free, you can be alert enough to react to their driving.
Parents can talk to their children about this early and model good driving behavior. Set rules about never using wireless devices while driving, and have conversations with your teenagers about keeping their eyes and minds on the road. Get involved with local campaigns and organizations to raise awareness of the problems of texting and driving. Thousands of people are injured or killed in distracted driving accidents every year, and we would much rather that not be the case.
The prevalence of cell phones in today’s world means that, unfortunately, accidents involving distracted drivers on their phones will happen. It’s a tragedy when a preventable accident happens because of a few seconds of distraction.
If you or someone you love was injured in a traffic accident as a result of a distracting cell phone, contact the Indianapolis Automobile Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.