The Dangers of Distracted Driving


Your phone dings, and you instinctively reach for it, glancing at the screen. This scene unfolds daily across the globe, as the ordinary act of looking at your device can lead to truly extraordinary—and sometimes tragic—consequences. April doesn’t just herald spring; it marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, urging drivers to enhance their awareness and understand the dangers of distracted driving. This post serves as a sobering reminder that our decisions behind the wheel can instantly alter lives.


The Impact of Distracted Driving in the U.S.


In 2023, the United States experienced a slight decline in distracted driving, a development the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a significant step in the right direction. This decrease resulted in an estimated 55,000 fewer car crashes and saved approximately 250 lives. Nonetheless, the numbers are still alarmingly high; distractions, particularly mobile phone use, cause U.S. drivers to spend significant minutes, increasing the risk and severity of crashes.


Common Distractions You Should Avoid


Here are the top 10 distractions that turn your car into a potential hazard:

  • Texting or holding a phone
  • Calling with the phone in hand
  • Child attention in the car
  • Navigation distractions
  • Grooming or personal care
  • Managing music apps
  • Eating or drinking
  • Items search in your car
  • Pet presence in the driver’s area
  • Radio channel flipping


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Lives Affected by Distracted Driving


Every day, distracted driving habits cause a grim toll—nine deaths and over 1,000 injuries in the U.S. The NHTSA’s conservative estimate of 3,522 fatalities in the latest recorded data starkly reminds us that behind each statistic, a life is irreparably changed or lost. We all are responsible for enhancing road safety and protecting ourselves and others.


How You Can Make a Difference


The fight against distracted driving is everyone’s battle, and the solution lies in collective awareness and proactive measures. Share these top 5 tips with every driver you know:

  • Plan before driving to minimize additional tasks
  • Ensure your car’s settings are adjusted beforehand
  • Utilize hands-free or stopping techniques for calls and messages
  • Enlist passengers’ support for necessary tasks
  • Secure all potential distractions before driving

The Legal Framework in Michigan


In the case of Ohio and Michigan, while there is common ground in their approach to distracted driving, there are also nuanced differences that drivers need to be aware of.

In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4277 into law, which is now in full effect. Adhering to this law prohibits using a device manually while driving – no calls, texting, social media, internet browsing, or video-related activities.

The penalties for flouting this law are no light matter:

  • First-time offenders face a $100 fine and/or community service.
  • Those who repeatedly offend might be charged a $250 fine and/or a higher community service requirement.
  • A driver must undertake a driving improvement course if they incur up to three violations in three years.
  • Fines are doubled if an at-fault driver is caught using a device during a crash.

Ohio’s Stand Against Distracted Driving


Ohio has one of, if not the strongest, prohibitions against distracted driving in the country. Section 4511.204 of the Ohio Revised Code details the strict guidelines that came into force in 2023.

Ohioans under 18 are prohibited from using any electronic communications device while driving. For adults, the specifics vary:

  • You face two points on your license for a first violation within two years, up to a $150 fine, or a requirement to complete a distracted driving course.
  • You accrue three points on your license for a second misdemeanor in two years, and the fine could scale up to $250.
  • The third strike can be incredibly costly, with potential license suspension and fines.
  • Fines are doubled for infractions in highway construction, highway maintenance, or construction areas.

Defining Hands-Free in Both States


The term ‘hands-free’ plays a central role in these laws. In Michigan, hands-free means a clear commitment to focusing on the road, which mandates unwavering attention. Hands-free requires a device the driver does not need to hold or use for calls.

Ohio carries a similar ethos, encouraging technologies that allow calls without direct manual operation. A few common methods are:

  • Speakerphones
  • Wireless headsets
  • Vehicle-integrated Bluetooth systems
  • Smartwatches


However, drivers must still comply with Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.84, which prohibits operating a motor vehicle while wearing earphones over both ears.


The Long Road Ahead: Continued Work to Save Lives


Distractions fill the roads, and National Distracted Driving Awareness Month reminds us to prioritize safety. While celebrating progress is encouraging, we must not grow complacent. The statistics show that young drivers are the most common culprits of handheld device distraction. Focusing on device usage instead of the roads sets the stage for disaster, emphasizing our need for continuous education and role modeling. Our communities depend on us to focus on the road in every journey.


Legal Recourses in Accident Aftermath


When a distracted driver causes an accident that impacts your life, it’s common to feel helpless and lost afterward. However, there is hope. By taking legal action, you can pursue justice for the harm caused and receive vital support as you heal and recover. If you find yourself in this situation, seeking advice from experienced auto accident lawyers who can navigate these complexities is crucial. With the guidance of Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, you can maneuver the legal system and obtain the compensation necessary to progress. Take action and seek the help you deserve to empower yourself without delay.


Call Your local auto accident lawyers at 419-843-6663 to get started, or use our easy online contact form today.


If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Monroe – and are searching for “car accident attorneys near me,” you can count on having one of our best auto accident attorneys from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case.  With a Toledo personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.