Although drivers may feel comfortable using their cellphones while behind the wheel, distracted driving increases the risk of car accidents and death.
Ohio drivers who talk and text on cellphones while behind the wheel are putting their lives and the lives of everyone else on the road in imminent danger. According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. government’s official website dedicated to distracted driving, 3,154 people lost their lives in car accidents involving distracted drivers in 2013. An additional 424,000 people were injured in similar accidents that same year. The surprising number of distracted driving traffic accidents that have occurred across the nation have encouraged many states to enact legislation banning motorists from using their cellphones while driving. Although Ohio has cellphone laws in place, many believe that the state could benefit from enforcing stricter distracted driving laws.
Ohio’s distracted driving laws
In Ohio, it is illegal for bus drivers and novice drivers to talk on any type of cellular device while operating a vehicle. Approximately 14 states in the country prohibit all drivers from talking on hand-held cellphones, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Ohio lawmakers have also banned texting and driving for all motorists. Yet, when law enforcement officers locate distracted drivers texting behind the wheel, they are not able to pull them over unless the driver has committed some other type of traffic offense. This secondary law greatly limits officers’ ability to reprimand and deter distracted drivers.
The dangers of distraction
There are three basic types of distraction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Manual distractions occur when drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel in order to engage in an activity, such as composing a text or reaching for an object in the car. Visual distractions require drivers to take their eyes off of the road and look at something else. Cognitive distractions, on the other hand, force drivers to take their focus off of driving. For example, when drivers make a phone call on a hand-held cellphone, they must use their hands, eyes and attention to accomplish this task.
Although some people believe that they can efficiently multi-task while driving, studies conducted by the National Safety Council show that people cannot. Rather than focus on two complex tasks simultaneously, the driver’s brain switches back and forth from one activity to the other. While the brain is concentrating on dialing a phone number, composing a text or listening to a conversation, the driver is not ready to react to any driving situations that may arise. This includes other drivers’ erratic behavior, pedestrian crosswalks, traffic signals, objects in the road and bad weather conditions.
How a lawyer may be helpful
When a driver makes the decision to drive while distracted, they put other drivers in danger. You many have been involved in a serious accident involving a distracted driver. As a result, you may suffer from injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, broken bones and lacerations. Accident victims may be eligible for compensation for their injuries and may want to consult with an attorney in Ohio who understands these types of personal injury cases.