In the United States, there are many causes of death and injury, but irresponsible driving is near the top of the list. DUI and DWI are the most common, but technology has begun to take its toll on our society as well. With smartphones, texting, and GPS, we are always connected and interfacing with our technology, and it has severely impacted automobile accident numbers.
DUIs (Driving Under The Influence)
DUI can come in the form of drunk driving or driving under the influence of other drugs, such as marijuana. In 2012, 10,322 people died in accidents caused by drunk driving. In 2011, 226 kids were killed in drunk driving accidents and 122 of those children were riding in the vehicle with the drunk driver. The long term effects of driving under the influence cannot be overstated.
Driving under the influence of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), is the second highest cause of fatal driver injuries and automobile crashes (with the first being alcohol). There is significant evidence, via real and simulated studies, which show a negative effect on a driver’s time and speed perception as well as attentiveness when driving under the influence of marijuana use. This impairment is increased when used in conjunction with alcohol. Underestimating the effect alcohol and marijuana have on the body can quickly lead to loss of lives.
There are many things which can distract a driver:
- SWITCHING THE RADIO STATION
- TALKING WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN THE CAR
However, the heavy rise in distracted driving accidents can be traced directly back to our increased technological access and texting while driving. It has become an epidemic (one that has rooted itself in teen drivers, although adults are guilty of this as well), but it is fully curable. Many people think as long as they keep their eyes on the road, they can still text and drive without incident, but there is a level of cognition which is diverted in order to process reading a quick text or typing a one word response. That diversion is more than enough to cause an accident.
The CDC enacted various studies on distracted driving and discovered some concerning information. Of US drivers aged 18-64, 31% reported having read or sent texts or emails at least once while driving. The result of a single text being read or sent while driving can be devastating. In 2011, an alarming 3,331 people died in accidents which involved distracted drivers.
The importance of driving without distraction or under the influence cannot be stressed enough. For more information on the rights of victims involved in DUI-related or distracted driver accidents, contact the attorneys at Ketterman Rowland & Westlund.