Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

The Dangers of Driving While Distracted

Published on Oct 20, 2016 at 11:00 am in Car Accidents.
The Law Office of Mike Campbell has joined forces with Thomas Law Offices as of September 1st, 2020. Click here for details.

Everywhere you turn, people are using their smart phones or electronic devices. Oftentimes, pedestrians on their cell phones are looking down and are not paying attention to the what’s in front of them.  In fact, these people are now called “smartphone zombies.” A smartphone zombie is described as someone “who walks slowly and without attention to their surroundings because they are focused on their smartphone.”

Even though that’s a humorous name for people we all know (and might be ourselves) who use their cellphones while walking, there can be serious consequences for distracted walkers. For example, when the Pokémon craze hit this last summer there were reports of distracted gamers walking into ponds, running into other pedestrians, and even falling off of cliffs!  Now imagine those people behind the wheel of a car or truck!

According to a recent survey, nearly 70% of teens say they use smart phone apps while driving. When the teens responding to survey were asked about dangerous driving behaviors, they ranked driving while intoxicated and texting while driving as more dangerous than using apps while driving. Even though 95% of the teens surveys agreed that driving while using applications was dangerous, further testing showed that 80% of those same teens did not perceive using apps while driving as distracting.

Driving while distracted has become an epidemic and has led to numerous automobile crashes and automobile accidents. Distraction.Gov provides the following startling statistics about distracted driving in 2014:

1. Distracted driving was involved in crashes where 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured;
2. 10% of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were driving while distracted;
3. At any given moment during the day, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or using other electronic devices while driving.

In Missouri, the legislature has taken steps to prevent drivers under the age of 21 from using an electronic device while driving (304.820.1 R.S.Mo.). Under Missouri law, it is currently an “infraction” for anyone under the age of 21 to use an electronic device while driving, which means that a driver can have points assessed against his/her license and receive a fine for driving while using an electronic device.  This could have effects on the driver’s insurance rates and potentially their ability to drive.

Even though some believe this law does not do enough, it’s a step in the right direction. But, there are steps we can all take to avoid distracted driving accidents, crashes, and interactions with law enforcement.

What Can Be Done?

Awareness is a big first step. A vast majority of cellphone users may admit that they’ve used their cellphone or looked at their cellphone (or other electronic device) while driving. The stats show that’s a normal thing to do in the age of cellphones and electronic devices. However, once you’ve either been affected by distracted while driving or have seen the affects of distracted while driving, you realize that the stakes are too high and that the text, game, or notification can wait.

When we’re driving, the most important task we have is to focus on driving. Over 3,000 people were killed and over 430,000 people were injured in automobile accidents and crashes involving distracted drivers.  We can all take proactive steps to lower that number.

Steps we can take at home include proactive parenting. Be sure to talk with your children about safe driving habits. Take phones from children who do not handle them responsibly. Think about this: A distracted driver can have their eyes diverted for five seconds when looking at a text. That’s enough time to drive the length of a football field while blindfolded.  Parents (and all drivers), research and consider installing apps on your kid’s phones and make an example by downloading the apps on your phone as well. Here are a few popular applications currently offered:

  1. AT&T Drive Mode:   http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=23185
  2. Wonder:  https://joinwonder.com/
  3. Life Saver:  http://lifesaver-app.com/

Also, consider taking and encouraging your friends to take a pledge to not drive while distracted. If we tackle distracted while driving now and make roadway safety important for our youth, we can all affect future generations’ driving behaviors.

Finally, consider contacting your local, state, and national representatives. Tell them you want to see more state and federal funding to end distracted driving. Get involved with groups like End Distracted Driving or People Against Distracted Driving. The more educated and engaged we all can become on these issues, the safer our Missouri roads will be for everyone.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Thomas Law Offices if you have any further questions. Our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping Missouri residents stay safe today and every day. Feel free to take a look at our earlier blogs on driver safety or look here for more great tips and discussion points.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

CDC Warns of Drug-Resistant Fungal Infection in Hospitals

If the height of the pandemic a few years ago used to make you fear heading to the hospital when in need of urgent medical aid, then the latest reports, like this article published by CBS News, regarding a drug-resistant fungal infection caused by Candida auris plaguing hospitals and nursing homes are unlikely to help […]

Read More

Injured Missourians May Be Eligible for Compensation From Missouri Victims’ Fund

There is good news for victims of negligence who have been unable to obtain the financial award they deserve—injured Missourians may be eligible for compensation from the Missouri Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund. Our team of personal injury attorneys at Thomas Law Offices is currently helping clients obtain compensation through this vital, yet often overlooked, state-funded […]

Read More

What Is Breach of Duty?

In almost every facet of our daily lives, we encounter situations in which one individual owes a duty of care to another. When someone violates their duty of care, it is considered a breach. This breach does not always cause harm, but when it does, the victim may deal with extensive injuries, costly medical bills, […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion