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It’s April…That Means It’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Many people may not be aware that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The campaign, which actually originated in Colorado, came into existence after the unfortunate death of a 9-year-old little girl who was killed in 2008 by a distracted driver. In recent years, distracted driving has become a major problem for individuals in Colorado and all throughout the country.

Lawmakers have struggled to come up with ways to help curb the occurrence of accidents stemming from distracted driving, and this campaign is intended to shine a light on the problem with hopes that more drivers will take distracted driving seriously and think twice before reaching for a phone or some other electronic gadget while driving.

Why Are So Many Drivers Distracted?

Studies conducted by the National Safety Council and other safety organizations have found that the use of cell phones while driving is a primary cause of distracted driving. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has estimated that more than 2000 people were killed in 2011in accidents related to distracted driving.

So, what are the various types of distractions? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes three primary kinds of distractions: visual distraction, cognitive distraction and manual distraction. Visual distractions generally happen when drivers take their eyes off the roadway for any length of time. Cognitive distractions typically include those things that can take a driver’s mind off of the task at hand — driving. Manual distractions involve a driver actually taking his or her hands off the wheel for any length of time.

Cell phones are troublesome because using them while driving typically involves all three kinds of distractions noted above. And contrary to what many drivers think and believe — using a hands-free device does not lower the risks, as the person using the device is still focusing on the conversation taking place and not necessarily on the roadway.

A Look at Texting and Driving

By now, most of us have heard lawmakers and others say that some of the most common examples of distracted driving include eating/drinking while driving, using a GPS system, changing the radio station or inserting/removing CDs and using a mobile phone and/or texting.

Texting is certainly one of the more dangerous distractions, primarily because it takes the driver’s attention away from the roadway for a longer amount of time and more frequently than other types of distractions.

Colorado has very strict laws when it comes to mobile phone usage. For instance, the police can stop drivers and ticket them for texting while driving. Moreover, when it comes to drivers of large commercial vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has completely banned texting while driving due to the increased risks commercial drivers face.

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is never an easy thing. But being involved in a collision with a driver who is believed to have been distracted at the time can make a terrible situation even worse. Individuals who have been injured or have lost a loved one in an accident are encouraged to contact the Denver auto accident lawyers at Levine Law as soon as possible to learn more about their legal rights and options.

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