There are various types of distractions which can lead to a distracted driving accident, and traffic charges which could result in the loss of driving privileges. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of occupants of vehicles killed in distraction related crashes decreased slightly from 3360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. However, there was an estimated increase in injuries from distracted driving crashes from 387,000 in 2011 to 421,000 in 2012. Distracted driving can be as a result of:
Use of a cell phone or smart phone for a call or email;
Using a navigation system in the vehicle;
Adjusting a radio, CD player or other stereo equipment such as an Ipod;
Speaking with passengers in the vehicle;
Attempting to discipline children in the car;
Reading a map or other material;
Eating or drinking.
Texting is considered the most substantial distraction, as it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the operator. 10% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal accidents were distracted at the time of the crash according to the NHTSA. Operators under the age of 20 have the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. Drivers in their 20’s comprise slightly more than 25% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
In New York State, under the Vehicle & Traffic Law, texting while driving is now a primary violation, which means that an officer can issue a ticket for this infraction without first determining that the operator has also committed another violation, such as speeding, following too closely, or changing lanes unsafely. Additionally, texting infractions have been increased from an original 2 points on the driver’s license to 5 points, which is almost half way to a suspended license, which occurs when the driver is assessed points in an 18 month period.
Here is an alarming statistic for those who test while driving: The average period of time the driver’s eyes leave the road to text is 5 seconds. If the vehicle is travelling at 55 m.p.h., it would cover an entire football field, 300 feet, with the driver not looking at the road! In a study conducted by the NHTSA in 2006, using in vehicle instrumentation, approximately 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes occurred with the operator of the car looking away from the road just prior to the event. The Safe Transportation Research Education Center at UC Berkeley found that the percentage of distracted driving by electronic devices increased from 4.2% in 2011 to 6.2 % in 2012. Drivers ages 16-24 were significantly more likely than other age groups to drive while distracted at 11.4%.
Contact the Westchester County Traffic Ticket Lawyers online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you or a family member are charged with a crime or a traffic infraction for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.