New York Cracking Down on Distracted Driving This Month
Distracted drivers cause far too many car accidents in the Bronx and New York City
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and law enforcement officers throughout New York are taking additional steps this month to highlight the dangers of distracted driving while beefing up their enforcement efforts.
From motorists to pedestrians and cyclists, there are always a lot of people using the roadways in the Bronx and the rest of New York City, which is why putting a stop to preventable car accidents and making the streets safer overall is a priority for the state.
According to a report by News 12 Bronx, AAA spokesperson Robert Sinclair Jr. says that in 2020, there were more than 100 fatal New York crashes involving distracted drivers. Sinclair Jr. also noted that while texting and cell phone use are the leading causes of driver distraction, it's important to remember that distractions come in other forms such as infotainment systems and conversations with passengers.
"We have to realize that driving is not down time," Sinclair Jr. told News 12. "Driving in itself is multitasking."
Different types of distracted driving
Traffic safety experts categorize distracted driving into 3 main types:
- Manual: This type of distraction happens when a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel. Examples of this are eating/drinking, adjusting the radio or temperature, and reaching for items in the car (like a cell phone).
- Visual: Visual distractions are when a driver takes their eyes away from the road. Essentially, a visual distraction can be anything else other than the road that catches your eye, such as a billboard or your vehicle's navigation system.
- Cognitive: This type of distraction happens when a person's mind wanders away from the task of driving. Things like conversations with passengers, changes in mood, and being overly tired can all take over your mind and make it difficult to prioritize safe driving.
One of the most common forms of distracted driving is texting, and it involves all three types listed above. Drivers who use their cell phones are more than 5 times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who remain attentive.
New York's hands-free law
Under New York State law, it is illegal for drivers to use a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. This includes:
- Talking on a handheld mobile device
- Reading, writing, sending, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving text messages, e-mails, or websites.
- Looking at, taking, or sending pictures
- Playing mobile games
Unless it's to call 911 for a medical, police, or fire emergency, drivers who violate the hands-free law can be ticketed and subject to a fine and surcharge. For those convicted of a violation, points will be added to their DMV driving record, which could ultimately lead to a driver's license suspension.
How to avoid distracted driving
All drivers of every age can play a role in preventing distracted driving.
As a driver, it is crucial to fight the temptation to drive distracted. There are applications and programs available for download on your cell phone with safety features to prevent distracted driving. Some can set up an automated reply to anyone trying to contact you on your phone, letting them know you are driving. Muting all notifications while driving is another option, so you won't see or hear anything pop up on your phone and be tempted to look at it.
As a passenger, speak up if you notice the person driving you is distracted. You can help with navigation and music changes so the driver is 100 percent focused on the road.
As a parent, modeling safe driving habits is critical for when your child eventually learns how to drive. Children are observant and will mimic the behaviors they see. Be the driver you want your child to grow up and be.
Hit by a distracted driver in the Bronx? Contact our car accident attorneys today.
If you're in the Bronx and you were injured in a crash that was not your fault, our law firm can protect your rights and aggressively advocate for your best interests. At Giampa Law, our car accident lawyers have been fighting for Bronx crash victims for decades, and we understand what it takes to win. Let us handle your case and fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We proudly serve crash victims and their families in the Bronx and throughout New York City.