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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Police cruiser behind a woman driving while putting on makeup

Distracted driving is a known and preventable cause of serious and fatal car accidents. Yet, crashes involving distraction continue to be a problem in Ohio and throughout the nation.

This April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, a nationwide campaign to prevent distracted driving accidents.

Ohio is serious about stopping car accidents caused by distracted drivers. In 2021, the Ohio State Highway Patrol launched a website to track risky driving behavior. Routes with the most distracted driving crashes (DD accidents) include IR-75, US-42, US-20, and IR-71.

So far this year, in Columbus and throughout Franklin County, distracted driving has been a factor in more than 45 injury-causing accidents.

Meanwhile, Ohio introduced legislation last month to make texting and driving a "primary" offense. Ohio law already bans texting while driving for all motorists, but it is a "secondary" offense. Right now, police cannot pull you over for texting and driving alone, but if it becomes a primary offense, they could.

What counts as distracted driving?

Distracted driving covers more than just texting and driving. Just about anything that takes your attention away from the road can be considered distracted driving.

Distractions can be classified as manual distractions (taking your hands off the wheel), visual distractions (taking your eyes off the road), and cognitive distractions (becoming lost in thought).

Common ways drivers become distracted include:

  • Checking phone messages, email, social media, and app notifications
  • Manually entering information into a GPS
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Eating and drinking
  • Self-grooming (e.g., fixing your hair, putting on makeup, etc.)
  • Talking with passengers
  • Daydreaming
  • Rubbernecking

Distracted driving facts

Even the most cautious drivers can become victims of distracted driving accidents.

To help spread awareness about why people should not drive distracted, we're sharing some data from the national stop distracted driving movement, EndDD:

  • The overall number of fatal car accidents decreased by about 2 percent from 2018 to 2019 (nationwide data), but over that same time period, the number of distracted driving crashes actually increased.
  • In 2019, more than 3,100 lives were lost to distracted driving accidents - a nearly 10 percent increase over 2018.
  • On top of the fatal distracted driving crashes in 2018, there were about 400,000 people injured in such accidents.
  • People who are not in vehicles are at a higher risk of getting hit by a distracted driver. About 20% of the people who are killed in distracted driving accidents are pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • As high as these numbers are, distracted driving incidents are most likely underreported. It's not always easy to prove when someone was driving distracted, and motorists who cause crashes often don't admit that they were being negligent.
  • Distracted driving is a major problem among younger drivers. Almost 60 percent of teen crashes involved distracted driving. Drivers ages 15-19 are most at risk.
  • Commercial truck drivers, like those who drive delivery vans, semi-trucks, construction vehicles, and box trucks, increase the risk of a crash, or near-crash, by 23 times when they text and drive.

Victims often sustain severe injuries

Crashes caused by distracted drivers often result in severe injuries or death because the at-fault driver fails to brake before the collision and hits the victim at full speed.

Some of the most common injuries victims suffer after getting hit by a distracted driver include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (e.g., concussions)
  • Facial injuries
  • Neck injuries (e.g., whiplash)
  • Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Knee, shoulder, and other joint injuries
  • Torn tendons and ligaments
  • Internal organ damage

Injuries sustained in car accidents are often painful and debilitating, but it's important to remember that some car accident injuries can take days or even weeks to manifest. That's why even if you don't have any noticeable pain or symptoms in the immediate aftermath of a crash, you should go to the hospital, urgent care, or your doctor to get checked out right away. You could have a life-threatening injury and not even realize it.

Crash victims may be entitled to compensation

If you were injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault or a loved one died in a crash due to negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses.

At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we know how to deal with insurance companies, investigate accidents, build strong cases, and aggressively advocate for the best interests of our clients.

Our Columbus car accident lawyers serve all of Ohio and have years of experience holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions. Let us fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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Charleston, WV

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
10 Hale St Suite 501
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: (304) 720-1000

Columbus, OH

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
20 E Broad St Suite 1000
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 587-8423