April is distracted driving awareness month in the United States. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, cell phone usage, navigation systems, and other technology being in a vehicle is much more common. Technology is a large contributor to distracted driving, however there are other factors such as eating and talking to passengers that continue to play a role. According to the NHTSA, in 2013 10% of fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.
At Gruber Law Offices, we are continuously trying to raise awareness around this issue. Below you will find some of our frequently asked questions about distracted driving as well as tips on how to stay safe.
• Texting while driving is against WI law for any driver unless operating an emergency vehicle
• Wisconsin drivers are required to use hands-free devices through areas of road construction
• Wisconsin officers can cite drivers for any distracted driving violation
• Cell phone usage is prohibited to novice drivers with learner’s permits or an intermediate license
• It’s illegal to have any electronic device providing entertainment value by visual means located in the view of the driver, unless a commercial driver
Distracted Driving is engaging in activities that deter the attention away from the roads. These activities may vary, but according to distraction.gov, these are the biggest causes of distracted driving:
• Texting or talking on cell phones, mobile apps, etc.
• Adjusting music devices: iPods, CD player, radio, etc.
• Eating, drinking, or smoking
• Reading navigation materials: GPS, road maps, etc.
• Changing car settings: adjusting mirrors, climate control, etc.
• Other occupants in or outside vehicle
• Putting on make-up or adjusting physical appearance
• Reading the newspaper or website article
According to Wisconsin’s Driving Laws, Wisconsin’s distracted driving law bans driving while “engaged or occupied with an activity, other than driving the vehicle, that interferes or reasonably appears to interfere with the person’s ability to drive the vehicle safely” (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 346.89(1) (2016).) (2)
• Turn off phones or switch to silent mode while driving
• Change your voicemail message to tell callers you are driving
• Ask a passenger to call or text for you
• If you must use your cell phone, pull over and stop in a safe area
• Avoid driving while angry, upset, or over tired
• Adjust all car settings before putting vehicle in drive
Would you like to learn more about distracted driving and organizations that are trying to make a difference? Below are a list of sources used in this article where you can find out even more statistics around this issue. If you our a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, call us now for a free consultation.