I saw something that shocked me yesterday and felt the need to write this post. On my way home from work, I was stopped at a red light. I looked over to my right and saw a woman watching a show on her cell phone that was suctioned to the windshield under the rear-view mirror. She was probably in her late 30s, and I noticed an empty car seat in the back. It made me think that she probably had at least one child. Although, in Utah, it would be unusual for a woman this age to have only one child, but that’s beside the point. I watched her as the light turned green to see if she would pause the show or at least keep her eyes on the road as traffic began moving. I was shocked to see that her eyes were on the cell phone more than they were on the road. We reached speeds in excess of 50 mph, and this woman hardly looked away from her phone.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are driving distracted. We are a binge-watching, entertainment-seeking society, and we can’t hit the pause button even if it means risking our own lives and the lives of those around us. We can’t wait for information. If an email shows up in our inbox, we have to open it right away; safety can wait. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not innocent. I’ve sent a few text messages, read emails, and entered my destination in the GPS on occasion. But watching a movie while driving is on a different level. No form of driving distracted is acceptable, but if you’ve reached the point where you can’t put your phone down while driving, then you are probably an addict.
On a few occasions, I’ve had the opportunity to present to high school students about the dangers of driving distracted, particularly driving while using a cell phone. I’m amazed at the stories I hear from students about their parents driving while texting, reading articles, watching videos, and checking emails all while driving with children in the car. If you choose to drive while texting or checking Facebook, realize that you, someone you love, or another person’s loved one can end up killed and seriously injured.
As a personal injury attorney, I’ve met with numerous people impacted by distracted driving. The mixture of cell phones and driving causes thousands of accidents per year just in the state of Utah. Many of these accidents are fatal. The distracted driver that accidentally kills or seriously injures another never gets over it. For some, it ruins their lives. They always express the same sentiment: if only I can take back those few seconds. Visit http://ut.zerofatalities.com/ videos of real stories from real people about the tragedies that come from distracted driving.
The statistics are scary. According to Zero Fatalities, 1 in 4 car accidents is a result of distracted driving. The average time someone’s eyes are off the road while texting is 4.6 seconds. A lot can change on the roadway in 4.6 seconds. A child can be on the sidewalk in one moment, then in your lane of travel in a couple seconds. For more statistics on distracted driving, visit http://ut.zerofatalities.com/statistics/.