Auto insurance company GEICO has announced that it will donate $1.3 million to help set up 52 “Text Stops” along New York state highways over the next five years in an effort to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents. According to a report in the Daily Gazette, GEICO will also fund posters that warn against distracted driving at 34 of these designated text stop locations. This new partnership between the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and GEICO was announced at a rest area just off the I-87, which has now been designated as one of the “Text Stops.”
Distracted Driving – A Major Safety Issue
As drivers, many of us frequently engage in activity that amounts to distracted driving.
When our cell phone dings or vibrates as we drive, even a quick peek at the phone or a quick text that you may send out while stopped at a light or in slow-moving traffic may have devastating consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,129 deaths in 2014. NYSDOT estimates that at any given daylight moment across the U.S. 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
The average amount of time a distracted driver’s eyes are off the road while texting is about five seconds. And at 55 mph that amounts to driving across the entire length of a football field, without looking at the road. NHTSA defines distracted driving as any action during driving that takes the motorist’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and attention away from the act of driving. Each time you either text, send an email or update your Facebook or Instagram etc. as you drive, the move diverts your attention and eyes away from traffic as well as requiring you to remove your hands from the steering wheel.
While most acts of distracted driving involve texting and making phone calls, it can also include activities such as eating, grooming, surfing the internet, working the stereo or GPS controls etc. Most recently New York made it on the list of states that led the country for the highest number of drivers who took and posted selfies as they were driving. According to NYSDOT, 25 percent of teenagers respond to text messages once or more every time they drive and one in five teens admit to having extended text conversations while behind the wheel. One in 10 adults admit to doing the same.
Steps Drivers Can Take
Clearly distracted driving is not just limited to the use of electronic devices. Here are a few tips to prevent distracted driving:
• Make sure you are fully focused on driving.
• Store loose gear, possessions and other distractions that may roll around in the car. This way, you will not feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
• Make as many adjustments as you can before you begin your trip. Address vehicle systems such as GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road.
• Finish dressing, personal grooming and applying makeup before you get on the road.
• Do not eat or drink when you are on the road.
• Secure children and pets before you get underway. Reaching for a child or a pet can prove to be a dangerous distraction when you are driving.
• Do not use cell phones while driving unless it’s an emergency. Never use text messaging, email, video games or the internet while driving even if it is on the controls built into the vehicle.
• If you are driving with passengers, enlist their help so you can focus on driving safely.
• If you must take care of something else when you are driving, make sure you pull over to a safe location, complete your task and then proceed with driving.
If You Have Been Injured
As New York personal injury lawyers we are pleased to hear about this initiative and that more “text stops” will be made available for drivers who can pull over if they need to use mobile gadgets or if they just want to grab a bite to eat.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that involved a distracted driver or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a reckless or negligent driver, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a man who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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