Visual Evidence that Distracted Driving Ends Lives

You may not see be able to see the motorcycle in this picture. At first glance, it is nearly invisible

From a different angle, the circumstances become more evident.

The driver of the Honda motorcycle was going 85mph when the Volkswagen pulled out in front of him from a side street. She was talking on her cell phone and apparently did not see him. At that speed, he did not have the time to react to stop before he collided with the car. His motorcycle went through the windshield with enough force to flip the car entirely and send it flying through the air. All of the participants in this accident, both drivers and a single passenger in the Volkswagen, were killed instantly in the crash.

The dangers of driving while distracted are no new revelation on this blog or in the news. Numerous studies have examined the dangers of speaking on the phone while driving, and found that cell phones – both hand held and hands free varieties – significantly impair driving performance. In some cases, the level of impairment has been shown similar to driving at the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent. Every day, more than 800,000 drivers use their handheld cell phones.

Texting while driving is considered “incompatible with safe driving” by the CTIA-Wireless Association, and for good reason. But while the danger of texting while driving seems as though it ought to be obvious, an estimated 20 percent of drivers drive while texting, and an estimated 66 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24.

While the actual incidence of distracted driving is difficult to accurately measure, driver distraction was reported to have been a factor in 16 percent of fatal crashes in 2008, as recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

In 2008, an approximate 515,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving according to the police, and 5,870 people were killed. The actual number is possibly much higher.

Cell phones are the single most common cause of distraction in drivers on the road today, more common that drowsiness, eating, GPS or any other cause of driver inattention. At the same time, an ever more robust body of evidence suggests that they are one of the greatest dangers on the road, leading to drivers up to four times more likely to have a traffic accident. Beyond that, we have graphic reminders such as the above pictures to remind us viscerally of the horrific outcome when the inevitable happens and driving in a constant state of distraction leads to a fatal accident.

While laws are in place in some states, like California, to prevent drivers from using hand held cell phones, hands free varieties are still common and only 18 states and the District of Columbia outlaw texting while driving. It is important to remember the danger this technology represents. The only safe way to drive is with cell phones put away.

If you have been injured by someone driving while using their cell phone or otherwise distracted, it is important to talk to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Call (404) 531-9700 to schedule your free consultation at MLN Law.