In this segment of Do I Need a Lawyer, Gary Martin Hays discusses distracted driving.
Welcome back to "Do I Need A Lawyer?"
Let's go to the next question from one of our viewers.
"Hi Gary. This really isn't a legal question. My teenager just started driving. I'm concerned about him trying to use his cell phone and text while he's behind the wheel.
Do you have any suggestions?"
That is a great question.
Whenever I'm driving on the interstate in the morning, without fail - I'll see someone trying to put on makeup in the rear-view mirror or talking or texting on the phone.
All of these are dangerous practices.
Let me show you a clip my law firm sponsored to show the dangers of texting while driving:
I hope you will show your son that video clip. We actually have it posted on my website:
Let's talk about distracted driving for a moment.
Distracted driving is any activity that occupies or diverts a driver's attention away from the road.
All distractions are dangerous.
All distractions can be fatal.
They not only endanger the driver, but also the passengers, other drivers and pedestrians.
There are three types of distracted driving:
(1) Manual -- when you take your hands off the wheel or your hands are being occupied by something else.
(2) Visual -- when you take your eyes off the road
(3) Cognitive -- when your mind is not focused on driving.
I receive phone calls constantly from people who have been injured because a driver had their attention on something other than the road ahead of them.
And what is the number one cause of distracted driving?
TEXTING - and it is closely followed by the at fault driver trying to dial or talk on a cell phone.
Here are some other examples of distracted driving activities:
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Reading or using maps
Using a navigation system
Changing the radio station or song on the CD player
But, by far the worst distraction is trying to text while driving.
Let me explain why.
Text messaging requires you to focus your visual, manual, and cognitive attention.
In fact, you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident if you are texting while behind the wheel.
Let me give you some more statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
In 2009, over 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (NHTSA)