Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

According to the National Safety Council, cellphone conversations are fatally injuring people in California and across the United States, but many people are still unaware of the danger. The organization says that 53 percent of drivers believe that hands-free phone technology in vehicles is safe to use while driving, but statistics show that both hands-free and hand-held phone conversations significantly increase a motorist's chances of crashing.

To address the issue, the NSC has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The initiative, which features videos, posters and infographics, is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of using hands-free infotainment technologies while driving, with a particular emphasis placed on the risks of talking on cellphones. According to the organization, talking on cellphones while driving is particularly dangerous because so many people do it. For example, texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by between 8 and 23 times, but very few motorists text and drive at the same time. Meanwhile, cellphone conversations increase the risk of a crash by only four times, but nearly 10 percent of drivers at any given time are talking on the phone. The mix of risk and prevalence is the problem.

As part of the awareness campaign, the NSC is offering a free cellphone policy kit to encourage companies to prohibit their employees from using cell phones while driving. Such policies are becoming increasingly common across the U.S.

People who are injured in a car collision often face high medical expenses, and in some cases they are unable to return to work for a prolonged period, further worsening their financial condition. In the event it can be determined that the accident was caused by a distracted driver, an attorney might help an injured victim seek compensation for these and other losses.

Source: NSC, "Distracted Driving: One Call Can Change Everything," April 11, 2016

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