Driving while distracted is of tremendous concern in Rhode Island and all over the U.S. In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April, Tapalian Law wants to help spread the message that we already know but need frequent reminding of- Just Drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2015. This number in actuality is likely higher as police reports often do not fully list a reason for a car crash. As Providence personal injury lawyers, we see the full extent of these tragic vehicle fatalities as well as the personal injury that can accompany victims involved in the accident. Car accidents caused by distracted driving can cause death or serious injury and they are completely preventable.
Hands-Free Does Not Mean Safe Driving
In June 2018, it will be against the law to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in Rhode Island. Hands-free devices will be allowed. But here’s the trouble. “The human brain cannot handle two thinking tasks at once”, states an article posted on the National Safety Council website. The human brain has to switch back and forth between the two thinking tasks and the job of talking and driving is a prime example. We all think we are expert multi-tasker’s and “it won’t happen to me”, but the truth is our brains simply are incapable of performing two thinking tasks at the same time. So, if we are talking while driving, whether using a hand-held phone or a hands-free device, we are focusing on what is being said during the phone conversation and not fully on the road. Inattentiveness to the road is an easy way to cause an accident with another car, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or even hitting something as simple as a mailbox. A distraction while driving may range from minor, such as swerving into another lane where there is no other vehicle, or major, like hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk resulting in a fatal injury. As injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows too well that distracted driving kills.
Inattentional Blindness and Driving
Driving while using a cell phone, auto infotainment system, or GPS, can be classified as types of inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness, also called perceptual blindness, is a lack of attention that is not associated with any vision defects. It may involve an event in which the individual fails to perceive an unexpected stimulus although it is in plain sight. A driver sending a text may miss a stop sign that is clearly visible. The driver has no vision deficits and the stop sign is in clear view, however the person’s brain is focused on composing the text and not on their driving causing them to miss the stop sign. Using a cell phone often leads to inattentional blindness and psychologists are more frequently finding a correlation between inattentional blindness and distracted driving. Many of us credit ourselves as being skilled multi-tasker’s. But the fact of the matter is although we may be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, we can not perform them all as well as if we did one task at a time. And when you consider a task like driving an automobile where it only takes a few short seconds to take a person’s life, multi-tasking should not even be a consideration.
Avoid Distracted Driving
- Use technology to block calls and texts from coming in while driving.
- Turn off your phone ringer while driving and put your phone where it cannot be reached, like the backseat.
- Eating, drinking, grooming should not be done while driving.
- Adjust any music or GPS systems prior to beginning a drive.
- Be mindful, be present while driving.
- As the campaign says- just drive. Rhode Island is part of the “Just Drive New England” initiative to enforce and educate the public of the dangers of distracted driving. Tapalian Law urges all drivers to be attentive to avoid the tragedy that can come from a car accident caused by a distraction.
Hurt in a Rhode Island Car Accident?
Have you been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts? If so, Attorney David Tapalian and the experienced team at Tapalian Law has helped innumerable victims of Rhode Island and Massachusetts car accidents successfully seek compensation for their injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury accident lawyer if you have been hurt by another driver in an auto accident. Contact distracted driving accident attorney David Tapalian for a free consultation to review your injury case. Tapalian Law has over 15 years of experience helping Rhode Island and Massachusetts victims get the compensation they deserve. Call us today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online.