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San Jose personal injury attorneyBy now, you have probably already heard about the dangers of texting while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AT&T, AAA, nonprofits, and other organizations have spent millions of dollars on campaigns to stop texting and driving. However, there are many other ways that drivers become dangerously distracted on the road.

Children Can Be More Distracting Than Texting

If you have children, you probably spend a lot of time transporting them from after school activities, to friend’s houses, or back and forth from school. According to several studies, you may be driving while distracted. One study showed that children were twelve times more distracting to a driver than texting was. Research has also shown that parents with children in the car spend, on average, three minutes and twenty-two seconds with their eyes off of the road for every sixteen minutes they are diving.

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San Jose, CA personal injury attorney, cell phone usageThe use of cell phones has increased greatly over the years. From bathrooms to highways, cell phones are everywhere. Moreover, distracted driving while using a phone for any reason is blamed for the deaths of nearly 3,200 Americans in 2014.

These massive numbers motivated legal officials to take a stand to protect our citizens. As of January 1, 2017, California lawmakers have made it illegal to hold a cellular device while driving a motor vehicle

Law Restrictions

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San Jose truck accidents, San Jose, CA truck accident attorneyMassive 18-wheeled big rigs dominate our nation's roadways. These overpowering vehicles drive our nation’s economy while also overpowering all other vehicles on the main highways and city streets. The sheer size and momentum brought forth by these vehicles makes them an intimidating force when traveling next to a non-commercial vehicle. Additionally, in certain cases, truck drivers leave a devastating wake behind them full of destruction and heartache for those unfortunate enough to cross their paths. Even with a recent decline in fatalities due to truck accidents, far too many families suffer at the hands of drivers who negligently operate their machinery.

Statistics

Due to ongoing investigations from two previous years, the most up-to-date and conclusive information available is 2014. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) only began in 1975, making most of the information available relatively new, but still useful in witnessing trends. Some of the most alarming statistics from recent years include the following:

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San Jose personal injury attorney, holiday travel, distracted drivingWhen traveling from one destination to another, it is not uncommon to witness a driver talking or texting on his or her smartphone, applying makeup, or reaching into the backseat to assist a child. All of these distractions take a driver's concentration off of the road. However, the addition of the holidays can bring about an increase in distractions, drunk driving, and vehicle accidents

Plan for Other Distracted Drivers

During the holiday travel season you may encounter drivers who are distracted by more than a smartphone or child. Distractions may include the following:

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hands free devices, California personal injury lawyerDistracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in California. The state prohibits drivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. It has had the cellphone ban on the books since 2008. But a recent study shows that using a hands-free device like a Bluetooth headset may not make driving any safer.

Distracted Driving Studies

Researchers at the University of Colorado examined data from California before and after the ban on handheld cell phone use. It discovered that the ban had no significant impact on the number of traffic accidents. Other studies have repeatedly shown that drivers using hands free devices are just as distracted when driving as drivers holding cell phones in their hands while driving.

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Distracted driving impacts the risk of auto accidents regardless of the age of the driver, but a study has indicated that teenage drivers may be dismissing the risks associated with multitasking while driving. Though the study suggested that teenagers recognize that texting and driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol could cause an accident, many did not observe the same potential for danger in other behaviors.

According to one report, any behavior that causes a driver to look away from the road could be considered a form of distracted driving, including talking on a cellphone, eating, changing radio stations or actively using a GPS system. The findings of the research stated that 27 percent of the adolescents admitted to changing clothes while driving. Some claimed to have applied make-up or tended to a homework assignment. A lack of available resources for educating youths on what constitutes distracted driving could be one of the contributing factors to this trend.

Survey results indicated that the awareness campaigns regarding the risks of texting and driving have influenced adolescent drivers, suggesting a lower number of occurrences than previous studies. Implementing educational material about multitasking behind the wheel in driver education programs for teenagers might be instrumental in bringing awareness to other types of distracted driving. In an effort to demonstrate how distractions can affect basic tasks, the survey participants were asked to take a course that provided opportunities to observe how multitasking affects driving.

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Distracted driving continues to cause many car accidents in San Jose and throughout California every year. It is not too surprising that so many accidents are being attributed to distracted drivers since everyone seems to be on their cellphones all the time, including while behind the wheel. Drivers involved in a car accident may want to ask if distracted driving caused the crash.

You may be wondering if it really matters that the other driver was on his or her cellphone at the time of the crash. Even though it may not seem like a big deal, drivers who are distracted at the time of an accident can be held liable for your injuries in California. 

After being injured in a car accident, you may want to see if the other driver was using his or her cellphone. Drivers who cause car accidents due to their negligence or unsafe actions can be held liable for injuries caused by the crash.

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We've all been trained to think that hands-free devices are the safe option for using your cellphone when you are driving the car. They have to work, right? After all, since it's a hands-free device, we can keep our hands on the steering wheel and our eyes on the road. Therefore we are not distracted. It's a perfect world! The driver is able to get all of his or her texting and phone calls done, and the road doesn't become any less safe.

However, it appears that this line of thinking is more myth than reality. A recent report by the National Safety Council (NSC) says that using hands-free devices still leaves a driver distracted, and it points to more than 30 studies that have shown handheld devices are just as safe as hands-free devices. In other words, those headsets or that dashboard monitor won't save you from being a distracted driver if you use them to text or make a phone call.

In California, it is illegal to send an electronic text while driving. Any offenders are hit with a small fine. But the question here isn't just "why is California's texting ban so weak?" It is "why are we being told there is a 'safer' alternative to handheld devices when there really isn't?"

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