In Maryland, it is not uncommon to see another driver make a mistake, whether minor or major, due to some form of distraction. It should come as no surprise that distracted driving accidents account for far too many car accidents on the roads each year, but what can drivers do to reduce this risk?
For starters, it is important for everyone on the road to know the likely risk factors associated with distracted driving accidents. By knowing what contributes to car accidents, every driver can take steps to reduce the likelihood of these types of accidents in the future.
Common driving distractions
Car crashes involving distracted drivers happen at an alarming rate in Maryland, and the number continues to rise year after year. Maryland saw more than 56,000 accidents involving distracted drivers in 2016, nearly 4,000 more than in 2012. The number of fatalities did decrease, but the rate of accidents themselves rose.
Some distractions may seem obvious to drivers because of typical behaviors. Texting, talking, looking for or even glancing at a cell phone are common behaviors that lead to distracted driving accidents. State law forbids texting while driving, but despite the penalties, more than 31,000 drivers received citations for this offense in Maryland in 2017.
For drivers who struggle with putting down a cell phone, consider a technological tool that may help. Apple iPhones offer a useful tool called Do Not Disturb While Driving which disables many of the distracting features of a cell phone while a user is behind the wheel. This feature can silence notifications and let those who try to contact you know that you are driving and will get back to them when you've stopped.
Additionally, users can personalize the feature's settings to enable some contacts to get through and create exemptions based on the person or the content of the message. The feature also does not entirely disable a device so drivers can still rely on maps and music resources while behind the wheel.
Cell phones aren't the only risk factors
It is easy to think that cell phones are the only risk factors, but many other factors also add to the dangers of distracted driving. Eating or drinking, searching for something to listen to, talking to others in the car or factors outside the vehicle also contribute to risk factors of distracted driving.
An accident caused by a distracted driver can have long-lasting effects from a short-term choice or mistake. As the victim of this kind of accident, seeking help and assistance for medical and legal needs is an important step to take early on.
A distracted driver can have a lasting impact on those around them. For those injured by a distracted driver, understand your rights after an accident.