Distracted Driving Awareness – Cracking Down on Distractions

Distracted Driving Awareness Month begins in April and efforts continue around the nation to crack down on the issue.  In Kansas, during one of the most brutal winters in recent years, distracted driving has recently impacted the KDOT snow removal crew.

Five Local Snow Plows Damaged from Distracted Drivers 

Last month, local news outlets reported five snow plows in the Kansas City area wrecked and were out of commission due to aggressive/distracted drivers.  These five vehicles represent 10 percent of KDOT’s Kansas City fleet.

KDOT Maintenance Superintendent, Drake Jennings encourages drivers to “slow down and give us [snow plows] room”.  Drivers should obey the instructions on the back of the snow plows.  The plows have signage instructing drivers to stay anywhere from 200-500 feet back to give them room to work.

Nationwide Efforts to Eliminate Distracted Driving

States including South Dakota, Florida, and Nevada are working to crack down on distracted driving.  These states currently define texting while driving as a secondary offense.  This means if distracted drivers are texting behind the wheel, they can only receive a citation by a police officer if they were pulled over for another violation.  The driver cannot be solely pulled over for texting while driving.

In late February, a senate panel approved a bill to expand South Dakota’s texting while driving ban.  This bill would increase the penalty for device usage while driving, making it a primary offense.

In Florida, new legislation would expand the definition of distracted driving if approved.  Activities in the proposed bill include anything that limits attentiveness while driving.  Reading, writing, performing personal grooming, and caring for pets are just a few outlined.

Nevada’s state assembly is working to empower law enforcement with stricter distracted driving laws.  New proposed legislation would allow police officers to search the driver’s phone to see if it was in use at the time of the crash.  If the driver refuses, officers could suspend a driver’s license for 90 days.

Technological Advances to Eliminate Distractions

Free phone applications help restrict device usage while driving.  Here is a quick rundown of five popular apps developed to help you stay safe on the road.

  • AT&T DriveMode – Incoming texts are silenced and auto-reply messages are sent to those texting you, letting them know you’re behind the wheel. The app will automatically turn on when your vehicle begins to move.
  • OMW (On My Way) – No need to send your estimated time of arrival to your family and friends, as this app can do it for you. Loved ones can follow your trip to track your location and receive notification upon your arrival.
  • It Can Wait – This virtual reality simulation started as a part of AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign. It shows real consequences of looking at your phone while driving.
  • Lifesaver – This app can ease the minds of worried parents, as they have the ability to lock their child’s phone while the car is in motion. When the car stops, the phone unlocks for use again.
  • Down for the Count – This app provides a reward system for young drivers. You first create a safe driving pledge, which others can sponsor.  The campaign begins when it is approved, and the app pays you to drive safe.

Lane departure warning technology and crash avoidance systems are becoming more and more popular in newer vehicles.  The development of these technologies is expected to grow and expand, as many studies show their effectiveness.  Subaru has even begun advertising eye tracking technology called DriveFocus, which generates an alert anytime the driver’s eyesight diverts from the road.

Subaru is also expanding their EyeSight driver assist technology, which is meant to provide a second set of eyes on the road.  Features with this technology include adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and throttle management.  In May of last year, a new study found EyeSight cut the rate of likely pedestrian-related insurance claims by 35 percent.

What to Do After Being Hit by A Distracted Driver

Unfortunately, distracted drivers continue to make roads less safe.  If a distracted driver causes you to sustain injuries in a car accident, seek necessary medical treatment immediately.  Then contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC.  Our trusted injury attorneys have experience with using subpoena power to obtain records from cell phone carriers of distracted drivers to prove cell phone use contributed to the car accident. In such cases, punitive damages may be available. Check out our blog, Distracted Driving Awareness Series, Part 4 of 4 – Holding Distracted Drivers Accountable, to learn more about punitive damages.

But don’t wait – hire an experienced injury attorney sooner rather than later to avoid losing access to crucial information such as traffic camera footage and cell phone records. These records are only retained for a short amount of time before they are lost.

No fee until we win!  Call Biesterveld & Crook, LLC or click here to request a free consultation.


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