Smiley & Smiley, LLP

The tremendous toll of distracted driving

Let's face it, distracted driving is almost always taken to mean "texting while driving" or "using a cellphone while driving." These behaviors are very prominent reasons why drivers are distracted, and they lead to a lot of people being senselessly hurt or killed.

Take a look at some of these sobering figures. In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in accidents that involved a distracted driver (which was down from 2012 figures) and 424,000 people were injured in accidents that involved a distracted drivers (up from 2012). 

Another study pointed to the amazing distance someone travels during the average amount of time it takes us to look at our phone while texting. The average time our eyes are off the road when texting is five seconds. In that time, you could drive across an entire football field at 55 miles per hour. That's a scary realization.

New York has a no-nonsense approach to distracted driving (when it comes to cellphone use, that is). There are primary laws that forbid drivers from texting or using a handheld device while driving. This means that a police officer could pull you over simply for these offenses on their own -- not simply tack them on later to some other offense that you committed.

These behaviors also make someone liable if a wreck occurs, and it doesn't have to be specific to cellphone use. Distraction driving, in it's (needed) ever-growing scope, can leave a driver liable if he or she is involved in a car accident.

Source:, "Facts and Statistics," Accessed July 22, 2015

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