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Mainers: The Deadliest Form of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 450,000 more were injured in distracted driving crashes. Any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving constitutes distracted driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. The most common include:

  • Texting
  • Making/accepting phone calls
  • Eating/drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting radio, CD player, or MP3player

The deadliest form of distracted driving is texting. Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver and, as a result is by far the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Sending or reading a text can take your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this would be like driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently examined distracted driving and the frequency of texting among drivers in the United States. The results of the analysis included findings that:

  • In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent in the U.S. alone.
  • 9% of drivers in the United States reported texting or emailing “regularly or fairly often” while driving.
  • 52% of drivers ages 18-29 reported texting or emailing while driving at least once in the last 30 days and more than 25% report texting or emailing “regularly or fairly often” while driving.

The CDC survey also reported that the proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of a fatal crash has increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009. Every day more than 15 people die and more than 1,200 are injured in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver.

All distracted driving is dangerous and in Maine it’s illegal too. Title 29-A M.R.S.A. Section 2118 makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle in Maine while distracted.

Have a safe trip, don’t text and drive, so you can arrive home alive.
Don Briggs, Esq.

Copyright 2012: Briggs & Wholey, LLC

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