April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and motorists across the country are urged to drive distraction free.
In a news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said, “Driving is a serious job the requires your full attention, all of the time. Distractions come in all forms, and we all need to take personal responsibility for our actions behind the wheel — that includes avoiding distractions.”
Some examples of distractions includes:
- talking on a cell phone or texting
- adjusting devices such as radios and GPSs
- attending to children or pets
- interacting with other passengers in the vehicle
It’s especially important for young, inexperienced drivers to avoid distractions, as they can increase the risk of a crash. In 2012, more than 14,600 crashes involved distracted driving with 57 deaths in those crashes. Last March, a state law went into effect that bans text-based communication while driving, with a $50 fine for violating the law.
PennDOT offers some safety tips for avoiding distracted driving:
- Store or turn off cell phones while driving. If you must make an emergency call, safely pull over to the side of the road.
- If traveling alone, set your GPS, radio and temperature controls before hitting the road.
- If traveling with pets, be sure that they are properly restrained. Better yet, leave them at home. Even a minor crash can result in a major injury to a pet if it is not properly restrained.
- Never operate your vehicle and attend to a child at the same time.
- If you drop an object while driving, leave it until you reach your destination.
Even as we put together this post, we can acknowledge that we may have been distracted while driving, but were certain that we could still operate our vehicles properly. We may have just been lucky — but that’s not always the case. If you are involved in an accident and the other driver was distracted by any of the examples above, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the auto accident attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates for a free review of your case.