Any experienced personal injury attorney can attest that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accident injuries and fatalities in the country. According to the official U.S. government website for distracted driving, more than 5,000 people were killed in 2009 due to car accidents caused by distracted driving. Unfortunately, these types of car accident injuries and fatalities are even more common among teens, who lack the experience and focus of a more seasoned driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 16 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal 2009 crashes were driving while distracted.
Common Distractions for Teen Drivers
If your teen is of driving age, make sure he or she is aware of major driver distractions and how to take steps to avoid them. Doing so could prevent a car accident and even save a life. According to Colorado personal injury attorney D.J. Banovitz, the top 5 teen driver distractions are:
- Phones – Smartphones have made our lives easier; it’s true. But their hundreds of functions and abilities make for a big distraction, especially for teens. Talking on the phone, texting or using a phone’s Internet browser while driving is extremely dangerous. In fact, NHTSA says drivers who use handheld devices (like cell phones) are four times more likely to get into a serious car accident than those who don’t. Tell your teen to put the phone safely away in the glove box, pocket or purse while driving. Encourage your teen to pull over and stop the car before calling, texting or browsing.
- Eating or drinking – Unwrapping food, digging in bags and sipping out of cups not only distracts teens, but also forces him or her to remove one or both hands from the wheel. Encourage your teen to wait until arriving at their destination to eat, or to pull over and eat in a parking lot.
- Playing with the radio – The radio provides a huge distraction. From tuning the dials, playing with the volume or removing and inserting CDs, there are an endless number of ways the radio can pull focus away from the road and affect driving skills. Tell your teen to set the radio before getting on the road, and ask a passenger to change the dial if necessary while driving.
- Talking to passengers – Teens carpool to school, the movies, the mall; nearly every drive your teen takes likely will be with one or more passengers on board. Stress to them the importance of focused driving. While talking is fine, encourage them to keep it at a minimum, and never take their eyes off the road. When driving with a passenger, teens are responsible not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their friends also on board.
- Reading or using a GPS – GPS devices are intended to be a helpful driving aid, especially to new drivers. Unfortunately, some devices prove to be more of a distraction than a help. If your teen will be using GPS, make sure it has voice capabilities and that it’s mounted on the dashboard. If your teen has to hold a phone or GPS device or read the directions while driving, it could result in a very serious car accident.
Contact a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love was injured in a distracted driving car accident, you could be eligible for compensation. Call 1-303-300-5060 to discuss your case with a Denver personal injury attorney at the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz.
For more information, learn about the 7 Costly Mistakes that can Ruin your Colorado Injury Case.