The roads will be crowded this Memorial Day weekend which means the chances of a car accident increases. The AAA projects 34.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this upcoming weekend. Unfortunately, a number of them will be distracted while driving which puts you at risk of an automobile accident with them.
The statistics on distracted driving are scary. The U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicate that in 2008 nearly 6,000 people died and more than half a million were injured in crashes associated with driver distractions of all types. The Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has developed this "Wreck-less" checklist to reduce distracted driving:
- Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors, and fasten your seat belt before you drive;
- Enter the destination address into your GPS system OR review maps and written directions before you drive;
- Do not eat or drink while driving, and move all potential distractions such as reading materials, cell phones, etc., away from easy reach-the point is to keep your eyes on the road; and
- If there is a distraction that needs your immediate attention, we encourage you to first stop your vehicle in a safe area.
What does a March 2011 survey commissioned by the AAOS say about distracted driving? Here are some highlights:
- Of the more than 1,500 driving-age adults surveyed, NONE of them reported their own driving as unsafe. In fact, 83 percent claim to drive safely. And, yet they believe only 10 percent of other drivers drive "safely."
- Although drivers are aware that distracted driving compromises the ability of others to drive safely, one in five (20%) agree that they are a good enough driver that they can do other things while driving without compromising their driving ability.
- Among those who self-reported distracted driving behaviors overall, 30-44 year olds seem to be the worst offenders having more likely admitted to eating or drinking, talking on a cell phone or reaching in the back seat of the car while driving.
- Many drivers that have experienced a near-accident due to their own distracted driving behavior say they will continue the behavior that caused them to swerve or slam on the breaks to avoid an accident.
Even if you are not one of these distracted drivers, you share the road with them. So, drive safely this weekend and watch out for those who don't.
Also, remember those who gave their lives for America this weekend. We are a better country because of them. God Bless America!
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers as well as caused by other forms of negligence. His Clearwater personal injury law firm -- Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes -- has been caring for clients since 1955. Click here to get answers to your legal questions after a Florida car accident, Florida workers' compensation claim or Social Security Disability claim.