We all know by now that talking on a handheld cell phone or texting while driving can be extremely dangerous and can significantly increase the risk of a major injury car accident. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, in a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers recorded the number of crashes and near-crashes among new and experienced drivers. They found that dialing a cell phone was the most dangerous driving distraction.
Taking Your Eyes and Focus Off the Road
The study identified other dangers including reaching for a cell phone, surfing the Internet, looking at an object on the side of the road and eating. Researchers found that the danger of a distraction is far higher when a young driver is behind the wheel. Experts say that the findings of this study are not surprising because when someone starts to dial a phone, it must be done within a certain amount of time. Drivers also tend to keep their eyes off the roadway longer when they dial a number and lose track of the real task in hand – driving.
LAPD’s Valley Division has also launched a new education and enforcement campaign to stop distracted driving. Officials are now specifically looking for distracted drivers and issuing citations. In addition, officers are also reminding motorists that it is still illegal to dial, talk on a cell phone, check email or text while stopped at a red light.
Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving
There are several steps you can take to avoid distracted driving:
• Focus fully on driving. Store loose items so you do not feel tempted to reach for them when you are driving.
• Complete making all adjustments before you start driving. Adjust your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before you hit the road.
• Finish your dressing, personal grooming and eating before you get in your car.
• Put away ALL electronic distractions. Do not use cell phones while driving – handheld or hands-free. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the Internet with a wireless device, even if it is built into the vehicle.
As a California personal injury lawyer who represents car accident victims, I cannot emphasize the importance of remaining a focused driver. Remember, we also set an example to our children with our actions. If we fail to practice safe driving habits, our children don’t have a fighting chance. Please drive safely.