Distracted driving is any action that takes drivers’ hands off the steering wheel, eyes off the road, and minds off of their driving. Common examples including texting while driving, talking on a cellphone while driving, and eating or drinking while driving. Just a one-second delay in reaction time can mean the difference between life and death, and between a catastrophic injury and no accident at all.
The statistics are overwhelming. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 2,841 people died due to distracted driving in 2018
- 23,000 people died due to distracted driving between 2012 and 2018
- 9% of fatal crashes over the last 7 years involved a distracted driver
According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, young drivers (teens and early 20s) account for a disproportionate amount of distracted driving fatalities.
How is Oklahoma responding to distracted driving?
Oklahoma became the 46th state to ban texting while driving. The 2015 law is named after Troopers Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch. Drivers can be fined for violating the law.
Drivers who drive while distracted can also be held civilly liable for any accidents they cause. Civil liability means payment of damages for a victim’s medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and any car or property damage.
Oklahoma has implemented a campaign called Text B4 U Go “to encourage motorists to plan their routes before leaving home or work to ensure they arrive safely at their destination.” The state is also encouraging parents and others to print out a distracted driving pledge prepared by the NHTSA. They recommend that the pledge be signed and kept in the car or someplace where the driver will see it before driving.
The pledge provides that drivers:
- Protect lives by never texting or talking on the phone while driving
- Be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is distracted
- Encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free
The NHTSA recommends that:
- Drivers pull over to a safe location if they have to send or receive a text
- Designate a “designated texter” for the driver – if there are passengers in the car
- Keep your phone in the trunk so you’re not tempted to use it
What other steps may help reduce the risk of driver distraction?
WorkTruck recommends that truck drivers consider the following safety practices:
- Only do one task at a time
- Don’t eat or drink while driving
- Don’t use your phone will driving
- Make all adjustments before starting the trip
- Organize the car before driving
- Do your personal grooming at home
Drivers should never drive when they’re tired. Just being tired means drivers are focusing on their need for sleep and not the road. Tired drivers need to drink coffee to stay awake or play with the radio.
Were you hurt by a distracted driver? Tulsa car accident attorney Jacob Biby works to prove the driver who caused your injuries was distracted during the crash, and fights to secure compensation for you. by examining the phone, the car, the accident site, and by speaking with witness. To make an appointment, call us at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form. We handle car and truck accidents on a contingency fee basis.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.