In an effort to curb distracted driving across the United States, the National Safety Council has announced that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This spring, they want drivers to think more about the ramifications of their actions. Police officers may also be on the lookout for distraction to see if they can provide stiffer ramifications for those who can't put the phone down and drive.
The motto that the NSC is using is "just drive." Too often, people try to multitask. They check Facebook notifications or text friends. They take pictures or type an address into Google Maps. They even watch videos and look for new songs to stream over the speakers.
The NSC wants them to put that all aside and focus on the road. Nothing should come before driving.
Why is it so important?
The reason distracted driving is so important is that it takes thousands of lives every day, and it puts even more people in the hospital with injuries. Remember, fatality statistics alone do not tell the whole story. Someone who has a spinal injury and becomes paralyzed for the rest of their life may technically have survived the accident, but their life is altered forever and they lose an incredible amount in that crash.
To put things into context, the NSC notes that a minimum of nine people die in distracted driving accidents every single day. That is all across the country, not just in Georgia, but it is still a staggering number. Moreover, around 100 Americans get injured in these accidents daily. Over 100 lives change each day from something that we could all work together to prevent.
Focusing on truck drivers
It is especially important for truck drivers to refrain from distraction, as their vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and that massive weight, combined with highway speeds, makes them an incredible danger to those around them. A moment of distraction for a trucker could lead to multiple fatalities, dozens of injuries and numerous cars involved in the same wreck.
This fact is not lost on lawmakers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has long-standing rules against distracted driving that predate many state-based laws. Truck drivers are never allowed to:
- Text and drive
- Read text messages
- Read email messages
- Write emails
- Send instant messages
- Access websites
- Dial numbers that take more than one button
In short, they cannot engage in any text entry or retrieval on an electronic device, whether they are attempting to communicate at the moment or at some point in the future. They can make very limited calls based on hands-free systems with one-button dialing, but that's it.
If you get hit by a distracted truck driver or anyone else, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.