Today, fortunately, most of America is aware of just how dangerous drunk driving is. Through years of education, and sad stories in the nightly news about young and old lives snuffed out through the actions of someone driving under the influence, there is a real stigma against drunk driving. The legal precedents behind drunk driving have also contributed a lot to making drunk driving a much rarer offense than it was in decades past, since a conviction can result in losing the privilege to drive or even jail time.
It Only Seems Less Serious
Distracted driving, on the other hand, still doesn’t have that same kind negative connotation behind it. Even the term we use it for it doesn’t sound all that serious as people get distracted all the time, whether it’s at work or school, and there are no serious consequences in these moments.
However, that same kind of distraction when in control of a vehicle that is traveling dozens of miles per hour can have serious consequences for everyone involved, from the driver to passengers to other pedestrians and traffic on the road. Sometimes, distracted driving can result in near misses. Other times, it can lead to injury and, tragically, in some instances, it can result in death.
Of course, distracted driving isn’t anything new, and has been with us since the large scale integration of automobiles into American society back in the 20th century. Back then, distracted driving was a very different type of activity. Day dreaming, tiredness from not getting enough sleep, or simply getting too involved in a conversation or listening to something on the radio, or paying more attention to events occurring outside the car were the most common forms of distracted driving.
Today, with the arrival of cellular phones that are actually just portable personal computers, all the ways that people can busy themselves with computers are available as options on the road. And, unfortunately, people take advantage of this. They talk on the phone verbally, they use text messaging systems, they take photographs or videos of themselves, and, in some bizarre cases, they watch pornography.
The Detroit Distracted Pornography Case
In January of this year, in Detroit, Michigan, a 58 year old man died in a freak and pointless traffic accident. For reasons that no one will ever know, the man in question simply could not wait to watch pornographic materials and decided to take the risk while driving in his car.
In an even more stunning move, not only did this driver watch pornography while driving, he dropped his pants and removed his seatbelt. In this manner, he continued to drive, with no seatbelt and no pants on, concentrating more on his pornographic content than the road. Unsurprisingly, his distracted driving got him into trouble. His car got into a collision and because he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt he was ejected from his car.
Tragically, he did not survive the ejection and died with police on the scene left to reconstruct events based on his undressed state and the content that was on his phone at the time of death. And he is just one of many people on the road that have decided that paying attention to what’s happening on a phone is more important than what’s going on with the traffic.
It’s On the Rise
Today, for better or for worse, you can get on the Internet and see cases of “selfie” photographs taken moments before accidents occurred, and even watch videos that people shot of themselves while driving, in a car, singing with friends and not paying attention to the road, as an accident actually happens.
Distracted driving in America, as of 2016, kills eight people and injures over 1000 more every day. However, unlike drunk driving, the penalties are not as harsh. Most states in America have fines in place to penalize distracted drivers, but these are usually confined to the use of text messaging, and not video capture or photography.
This is why it is important to be mindful of your driving conditions. Even if you’re paying attention to the road, another driver may not be. And if you become the victim of the distracted driving, you can rest assured that an auto accident lawyer is on your side, and the responsible parties will be made to pay for their negligence.