April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The designation comes as California marks a decade of hands-free restricted driving. The hands-free cell phone law (Senate Bill 1613) and the no-texting law (Senate Bill 28) were put in place in 2008. While the laws have been in place for 10 years, there are still a significant number of accidents that can be attributed to distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Causes Accidents
In 2017 there were more than 22,000 accidents in which distracted driving was a factor. While that number is down more than 10,000 from 2007, there is still more work to be done. Cell phones are still being used behind the wheel even though it is illegal to do so. There are other activities that may also be distracting.

For example, eating or drinking, talking to passengers and listening to the radio can all cause a driver to take his or her attention away from the road. Just a few seconds of distraction can lead to a serious accident. Distractions fall into three main categories – those that take your hands off the wheel, those that take your eyes off the road, and those that take your mind away from the task of driving. Any of these can create problems for drivers. It is important to note that texting while driving can be a triple distraction.

“Just Drive” Campaign
In an effort to further continue to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents California has begun a new campaign called “Just Drive”. The campaign focuses on educating drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted. It will try to provide people with information to make them aware of how dangerous it is to use a cell phone while behind the wheel.

The campaign is aimed at the entire public, but is especially focused on teen drivers. Teens are among the highest group of drivers that are involved in accidents caused by distracted or reckless driving. According to statistics 11 teen drivers are killed every day in the United States by preventable car collisions.

California Highway Patrol, CHP, is participating in the campaign by performing enforcement efforts across the state. It is important for drivers to realize that they are not allowed to drive while they have a cell phone in their hands. Together CHP and the Office of Traffic Safety are working to educate the public and improve safety of all drivers.

Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving
Some of the most dangerous accidents are those that occur due to distracted driving. Fortunately, many accidents are minor but some are very serious and result in severe injuries or fatalities. Distracted driving can cause a driver to fail to stop in traffic or fail to obey a traffic signal, two of the most common problems associated with distracted driving. A collision that occurs at 40 MPH or more is more likely to result in severe injuries than accidents that happen at slower speeds.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact the legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea for a consultation today.

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