Distracted driving is dangerous. It is estimated that it claimed over 3000 lives in 2019 alone. Almost 2000 drivers were killed due to distracted driving but so were over 600 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 80 bicyclists. This doesn't account for the many more thousands injured due to distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver's attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your car, or even fiddling around with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system - with so much technology at your fingertips and packed into vehicles, there are many things these days that can divert a driver's attention from the road.
Texting is one of the biggest distractions. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road. For example, just looking at a text for 5 seconds at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing and hurting someone.
Recently, the Missouri legislature made it more difficult to punish those who text and drive by raising the bar on punitive damages in injury lawsuits. Previously, punitive damages were awarded to deter “willful, wanton or malicious misconduct” like texting and driving. However, the new law changes the standard to “malicious misconduct or conduct that intentionally caused damage to the plaintiff.” This change in the law will make it much more difficult to win punitive damages meant to punish bad behavior like texting and driving.
To help reduce distracted driving, parents first have to lead by example. Parents need to make the effort to not drive distracted or text and drive. Parents can also talk to their young drivers about distractions and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Parents can have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving and warn them that states like Missouri have texting and driving laws such as RSMo Section 304.820 that bans text messaging and all other use of hand held mobile devices while operating motor vehicle for drivers 21 or younger.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, call us for help. 314-300-8380
NHTSA Distracted driving facts: