Daily Life Legal Issues

Understanding Distracted Driving

With smartphones a mandatory part of daily life, and the ever-present need to multitask, distracted driving accidents have risen nationwide. From texting while driving, to wearing headphones, eating, applying makeup, and taking phone calls, many states have begun to make these activities illegal while driving and you can face serious fines for doing so. In this article, we will explore various types of distracted driving and their consequences. 

Texting While Driving

Probably the most well-known of the causes of distracted driving, texting while driving has been the focus of many different nationwide campaigns alerting of the danger of doing so. According to the safety group DoSomething.org, texting while driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.

This is due to your eyes not being on the road for the entirety of the time it takes to text and respond to a message. Even 5 seconds at highway speeds means you travel the length of a football field without looking. While extremely dangerous, it is also illegal. 43 states and DC have made this illegal and can carry a hefty fine. 

Wearing Headphones While Driving

Wearing headphones and driving might seem like an innocuous activity. But it can be dangerous and illegal. While there are no laws preventing you from operating your in-car stereo safely, wearing headphones is a different story. Many headphones come with noise-canceling features which can block out the sound of motorcycles, honking, or emergency vehicles, which a normal stereo won’t.

Similarly, the personal nature of headphones can be distracting and allow you to not pay attention to the road as much as a stereo. 15 states have outlawed this practice, and driving with even just one earbud in can land you with a fine in some states. 

Eating While Driving

While not directly illegal, eating while driving carries the potential of a serious accident. Depending on the form of the food, you might spill it, burn yourself, or distract yourself with a wrapper, making eating while driving potentially disastrous for your safety.

This can also contribute to fault when in an accident, or even land you with a distracted driving charge if done recklessly. This is not to say that you cannot eat while driving, but taking extra care or just waiting a few moments to eat can help save lives. 

Talking on the Phone While Driving

At first, talking on the phone while driving was not a crime. However, the near-universal ubiquity of cell phones has made talking while driving an inevitability. Most cars made in the last 10 years have some form of hands-free talking, which has made this problem lessen.

Despite the prevalence of hands-free phone calls, actually holding the phone to your ear and driving remains a crime in nearly every state. Not only is it distracting, but it also removes a hand available to steer, which can prove to be problematic if you need to quickly maneuver your car. The car accident attorneys with Monge & Associates note that most rear-end collisions are due to distracted driving

In conclusion, distracted driving is never worth it. Phone calls and texts can wait until you are safely parked or at your destination. You can pull over or wait to eat, and it is simply not necessary to wear headphones while driving. If you are hurt in a distracted driving accident, contacting an attorney can help you ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve. 

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