Most of us take driving for granted, as it is something we have been doing for decades. However, operating a motor vehicle safely is a complex skill and requires extensive knowledge as well as your undivided attention.
Unfortunately, distracted driving continues to be a common cause of car accidents in Oregon. April is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and aims at making motorists more mindful of the risks.
The Dangers Of Distracted Driving
The National Safety Council (NSC) sponsors Distracted Driving Awareness Month each April. It calls attention to a common problem and one of the leading causes of car accidents in Oregon.
The ability to multi-task is considered a major plus these days, but it works against you when behind the wheel. Attempting to juggle other activities or even allowing your mind to wander can cause you to make potentially dangerous mistakes or fail to notice signs of an impending crash or collision.
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), more than 6,000 drivers and passengers are injured as a result of distracted driving each year throughout the state, and close to 50 people each year end up dying as a result of their injuries. ODOT has identified four main categories of driver distractions:
- Visual distractions, which cause you to look away from the road;
- Auditory distractions, in which hearing things unrelated to the driver diverts your attention to what is going on around you;
- Manual distractions, which cause you to remove your hands from the wheel;
- Cognitive distractions, in which your thoughts prevent you from concentrating on the important task of driving and safely operating your vehicle.
Common Distracted Driving Behaviors
Using cell phones and texting while behind the wheel are among the most common types of distracted driving behaviors. They are also typically considered among the most dangerous, as they involve four types of distractions.
Unfortunately, efforts to raise public awareness of the potential hazards of using cell phones for any purpose while driving had little impact on distracted driving accident rates. As a result, the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 811.507) made it illegal to use any type of mobile electronic device behind the wheel. Drivers could face serious fines for failing to follow this law.
While the law helps to reduce the risk, there are still other common behaviors that drivers routinely engage in that could leave them distracted. These include:
- Eating fast food or drinking coffee or other beverages;
- Adjusting your appearance in the rearview mirror;
- Changing GPS or car stereo settings;
- Reaching for items in your console, vehicle floor, or passenger seat;
- Attending to children riding in the back of the vehicle;
- Sightseeing, talking to other passengers or focusing on anything other than the road.
Ways To Reduce Oregon Distracted Driving Risks
Distracted driving accidents can end up causing serious personal injuries for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others involved. To reduce the risks, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these tips:
- As a driver: Turn your cell phone off or put it in your glove compartment when you get into your car and take care of tasks, such as making adjustments to mirrors or GPS, before pulling out. If you get fast food, pull over to eat.
- As a passenger: Respect that driving is a serious task and avoid shouting, complex conversations, or otherwise diverting the driver’s attention anywhere from the road.
- As a parent: If you have a teen driver in the family, emphasize the importance of paying close attention behind the wheel. Consider limiting their passengers: the more people in the car, the more likely they are to get distracted.
- As a bicyclist or pedestrian: Never assume drivers see you or will stop, even if you have the right of way. Make eye contact and ensure it is safe before stepping into the road.
Reach Out To Our Oregon Distracted Driving Car Accident Attorneys
Distracted drivers can leave you or those you love suffering serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. Unfortunately, proving they were distracted at the time of a crash can be challenging. To get the professional legal representation you need in filing a claim, reach out to the Johnston Law Firm.
Our Oregon distracted driving car accident attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation and gather the evidence needed in your case. We get you the total amount you need to recover, helping you avoid out-of-pocket costs. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our office online today.