A couple months ago, the South Carolina Association for Justice asked me to make a presentation to around 600 students at the Boiling Springs 9th Grade about the dangers of distracted driving.
The program, called End Distracted Driving, was started by a father who lost his 21 year-old daughter to a distracted driver. Check out their website, enddd.org.
I learned a lot about distracted driving, including some disturbing facts about what it is, how often it happens, and what it can do to innocent people and their families.
- Distracted driving is not just texting and driving or talking on a cell phone while driving- it’s anything that takes your attention from the primary task of driving. That means anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your mind off getting to your destination safely. It can be as innocent as changing the music or reaching down to pick something up.
- All it takes is a few seconds of distraction and our lives can be changed forever – one of the most devastating Spartanburg tractor trailer accidents I ever handled involved a trucker who was distracted because he’d gotten lost. He was so busy trying to figure out how to get back on his route, he didn’t see a red light, slamming into my client, who suffered a severe spinal injury requiring a serious operation. That trucker got lucky- some distracted drivers have to live with causing the death of a fellow motorist.
- Consequences of distracted driving can be horrific - Distracted driving kills about 3,700 people a year and injures an estimated 425,000.
- And we’re all guilty of it. I used to look in the rearview mirror to speak to my children in the backseat. Not anymore. If I’m not looking at what’s in front of me, I’m endangering them.
- Hands-free phone devices are not safer according to a study by the National Safety Council. This doesn’t mean we can’t talk to passengers. Studies show passengers who are teenaged or older act as another set of eyes to help the driver and have a tendency to stop talking in more dangerous highway situations. The person on the other end of your phone call doesn’t know the difference.
- We all have the power to save lives by making safer choices. We can turn off the phone or let our passenger make calls or texts. If we need to check the GPS or phone, we can pull off to a safe place.
This program has some really powerful videos featuring not just families of victims, but also the distracted drivers who described their guilt and heartbreak.
If you’re interested in having me make this presentation to your group, I’ll be delighted to discuss it with you. Do contact Holland & Usry at 864.582.0416 or toll free: 888-230-1841. As I told the students, if I have fewer clients who got hurt in car accidents, it’s a good day.