Distracted Driving Awareness
The National Security Council is encouraging drivers to take the drive cell free pledge, while the Minnesota State Patrol is working to increase awareness with its U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, The State Patrol is increasing enforcement to raise awareness of distracted driving, which accounted for 7,666 injuries and 74 deaths on Minnesota roadways last year. Driver error accounts for 94% of crashes with distracted driving being one of the primary causes. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 injured in the United States due to distracted driving.
According to the National Security Council (NSC), in 2016 an estimated 40,000 people died on American roads, the deadliest year in nearly a decade. This marks a 14% increase in traffic fatalities from 2014. Sadly, 94% of crashes are caused by driver error, meaning the vast majority of crashes are preventable. One of the leading causes of driver error is distracted driving, including texting and talking on the phone. Given it only takes one moment of distracted driving to cause a crash, the NSC is asking drivers to take the pledge to drive cell
It is difficult to determine how many people use cell phones while driving, but the NSC estimates that 660,000 drivers, or 7% of all motorists, are using a cell phone at any given moment during daylight hours. Distracted drivers led to 391,000 injuries and 3,477 fatalities in 2015. In Minnesota, there were 7,666 injuries and 74 deaths from distracted driving.
Drivers often believe they can multi-task while driving, but studies show the brain cannot perform two tasks, like driving and texting, at the same time. Simply talking on the phone can cause drivers to miss up to 50% of what is going on around them. According to the NSC, driver recognition is even worse with hands-free devices. Studies have shown drivers can be distracted for 27 seconds after sending a voice-text.
This month, the Minnesota State Patrol will be cracking down on distracted driving through its U Drive. U Text. U Pay. In Minnesota, it is illegal to send electronic messages while driving, even while stopped at a stop sign or red light. This includes e-mail, text messages, instant messages, surfing the Internet, or using other data like Twitter and SnapChat. The fine for a first-time offender is $50 plus court fees and $275 for a second offense.
More information on distracted driving can be found here.
Blog Written by: Eric Iverson, Attorney