Driver distractions cause Los Angeles car crashes!
A new study suggests that banning the use of handheld cell phones does not significantly reduce the risk traffic accidents.
The study was done by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and funded by the insurance industry. It was conducted in New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and California. These four states that have banned handheld cell phone use. Monthly collision claims from these states were compared with collision data from before the ban. The collision rates were also compared with those of neighboring states without cell phone laws. The data showed that collision rates in these states did not change with a cell phone ban.
The authors of the study say it is distractions that cause accidents. The researchers suggest that when cell phones are banned, they are replaced with other distractions such as hands-free devices – and hands-free devices are not reducing the risk of accident.
There are many ways that drivers can be distracted. Eating, tuning the radio, adjusting the heat, programming a GPS navigation system, looking for change for the 91 Express Lanes, grabbing a sippy cup for a screaming toddler… these are everyday distractions that take a driver’s attention off the road. Cell phones and hands-free devices are another layer of distraction. Many cars now come with built in distractions such as DVD players and internet devices.
The Department of Transportation recognizes three types of distraction.
1. Visual distraction – This includes anything that causes the driver to take his eyes off the road, such as texting, checking your appearance in the mirror, and looking for the pink monkey that your daughter just dropped.
2. Manual distraction – This is the distraction that occurs when the driver takes her hands off the wheel to eat that sandwich, grab the directions, program the GPS, or pick up that pink monkey.
3. Cognitive distraction – These are distractions that take the driver’s mind off driving. A cell phone conversation, a child who is poking his sister to make or squeal, worrying about being late, or a three year old who is screaming “potty!”
At least half of the six million crashes that occur each year are attributed to distracted drivers. Distractions cause 4,000 to 8,000 accidents every day in the United States. It is important that drivers realize that cell phones are not the only distraction in the car and get in the habit of focusing on the road.
• Plan ahead. Check maps or program your GPS ahead of time.
• Adjust your seat, mirrors, heat, radio station, etc. before starting your engine.
• Turn off your phone while driving so you aren’t tempted to answer it.
• Prepare your kids for the trip. Buckle children under age 6 in the appropriate child restraint. See our article about keeping children happy in the car.
• If children need attention, pull over. After a while, this will reduce fussing.
• When on a long drive, stop for breaks. Don’t eat in the car.
Make sure that your teenage driver knows not to text and drive. Drivers under 20 are especially likely to drive while distracted.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you need a Southern California car accident lawyer to look out for your rights. Before signing anything from the insurance company, contact Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie to schedule a free case evaluation. We have over 35 years of experience helping the victims of car crashes get fair settlements.