February 2, 2018
The Kiley Law Group
Every year, millions of Americans set New Year’s resolutions to have a healthier, safer, more fulfilling year. And every year, most of them don’t last more than a few weeks. But, if you’re going to keep any New Year’s resolutions, be sure to keep these four in 2018.
“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving,” says Mass.gov, the Massachusetts state website.
391,000 traffic injuries were blamed on Distracted Driving in a 2015 study and another 3,477 were killed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing,” added Mass.gov.
This, of course, includes texting while driving. Each year, cellphones account for 1.1 million crashes, with the National Safety Council (NSC) estimating that a “minimum of 3 percent” of those accidents involved texting.
Even as recently as November 2017, Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has been calling for a stricter law that restricts the use of cell phones to hands-free devices.
The current proposal facing the Massachusetts legislature would make touching cell phones for anything other than swiping it to answer or end a call illegal. This could include using your GPS, holding the phone near the head or on the lap, and of course, texting.
In 2018, resolve to keep focused on the road and the dangers on it.
Drunk driving is a dangerous and often fatal decision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2016, there was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality every 50 minutes. That was 10,497 deaths in one year or 28 percent of all crash fatalities.
Driving while impaired doesn’t just hurt the driver, but also pedestrians, innocent other drivers, and children.
In 2018, resolve to never drink and drive.
A recent study found that between 1992-1998 nearly 6,000 people died from red light running, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (III). More than half of these deaths were pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles. The number injured in that same time period was nearly 1.5 million people.
All from running a red light.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that approximately 800 people die annually from red-light running.
In 2018, resolve to never run a red light.
Also known as the “blinker” or the “turning indicator,” the turn signal has been a standard car feature since the 1940s. However, a recent study by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) says that not using a turn signal accounts for nearly 2 million accidents a year.
“The study finds drivers across the country don’t use their turn signals nearly half of the time when changing lanes, and people fail to signal a quarter of the time when making a turn. In all, 750 billion times a year,” reported CBS.
“Even more disturbing than the statistics were the reasons,” adds Mark Vallet of CarInsurnance.com “42 percent of the signal-avoiders said they didn’t have time; 23 percent admitted they were just too lazy.”
Aside from the accidents and potential injury – which should be the main takeaway here – each of these four points is also key reasons why a personal injury or property damage claim could be won or lost if the driver is found to have been involved in any of these activities.
So, for a safer, healthier, and liability-free 2018, resolve not to drive distracted, text, run a red light or fail to use a turn signal.