Summer is here and with it comes warm summer days, a new free-spirited attitude and, of course, driving vacations. Even if simply driving around town, the happiness of summer has a tendency to cause more distractions than normal.
We should be urged to continue to drive safely, and especially be on a closer lookout for children this time of year though. As schools are out, more children will be out roaming the streets--with or without their parents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects data throughout the year and has found that:
"In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 59,000 were injured in traffic collisions in the United States. Pedestrian deaths account for 12 percent of all traffic-related deaths. Forty-eight percent of all pedestrians killed in the United States died in crashes that occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which indicates that those days of the week could represent seven days of the week during the summer for children."
The statistics don't lie and either do the screeching sounds of tires and ambulance sirens, more frequently heard in summer days as we spend more time outdoors.
I am a Bay Area Automobile Accident Attorney and I feel it is my job to urge citizens to practice safer driving habits, and to fight bad distracted driving habits. We all know how many people get distracted in all areas of life by mobile phones and other electronics. I support laws to ban personal electronic device usage while driving a motor vehicle.
There are many forms of distracted driving which involve your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on your driving. If the activity has the potential to distract you from the primary task of driving, then it increases the risk of crashing and harming someone else or yourself.
While you are driving a motor vehicle, don't use your hand-held cell phone to text (or use any other application on your phone). Use caution while eating, talking to passengers, grooming, reading maps, using a navigation system, or even changing the radio station.
Children at age 15 and younger accounted for 7 percent of pedestrian fatalities in 2008 and 22 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic accidents. As a driver, remember that you need to be on guard, defensively looking around for children who are caught up in the moment (or on their smart phones or listening to music). Children may end up in the street and not realize that a vehicle is close by. Be on guard for this potential.
In light of these glaring and tragic statistics, it is imperative that we all continue to remind our children to be safe and always look out for distracted drivers. Being aware of surroundings as a pedestrian is important too.
AND TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO SPEAK UP IF THE PERSON DRIVING THEM IS USING THE PHONE OR TEXTING. DISTRACTED DRIVING IS SELFISH DRIVING AND IT KILLS. We all have a right to demand a safe driver, even if it is the parent of a close friend. Make sure that your children are able to speak up for their right to be safe.
About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area motorists. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of other, and, as a San Francisco automobile accident attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured motorists throughout his legal career.