Mobile phones have a number of benefits, but the technology does not belong behind the wheel. Although operating a mobile while driving is illegal in Victoria (unless it’s a hands-free device), one-third of drivers still engage in unlawful behaviour such as reading and responding to text messages, holding the phone to make a call, etc.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents in Melbourne and other areas of Victoria. It can affect everyone on the road, from distracted drivers and their passengers to the occupants of other vehicles to pedestrians and cyclists. Before you pick up your phone while driving, it is important to consider the consequences.
Keep reading for more information on the impact of distracted driving. If you or someone you love has been harmed in a crash with a distracted driver, please contact Henry Carus + Associates for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and throughout Victoria.
Increased Risk of Accidents
Using a phone is not the only form of driver distraction. However, it may be the most dangerous – a distracted driver going 50 kmh can travel the length of a cricket pitch in 2 seconds without looking at the road, according to the Transport Accident Commission.
Two seconds is not a lot of time. And yet, a great deal can happen in the couple of seconds that a driver is distracted from the road:
- The distracted driver may drift into another lane or into oncoming traffic
- Traffic in front of the distracted driver may be stopped, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision
- Signals may change at an intersection, or the distracted driver could miss road signs telling motorists to stop, give way, etc.
- Vehicles may enter the roadway as a distracted driver draws near
- A pedestrian may cross the road in front of a distracted driver
- A passenger may exit a bus or tram into the path of the distracted driver
- Animals may walk into the road unbeknownst to the distracted driver
- Distracted drivers may fail to see a stationary object in the road
An alert driver should be able to spot these and other potential hazards and react accordingly. Unfortunately, issues such as not looking at the road, delayed reaction time, and compromised judgment cause distracted drivers to put their safety and that of others in jeopardy.
Misplaced confidence is the driving force behind the global problem that is distracted driving. Too many drivers believe that they can multitask and divide their attention effectively between the road and the source of the distraction.
Such false confidence can lead to a wide range of careless actions while driving. These include:
- SMS texting
- Talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking
- Checking a map or GPS
- Using apps on a mobile to check email and social media, watch videos, etc.
- Changing radio stations
- Adjusting climate control
- Talking to passengers
- Reaching for objects that fall on the floor
- Tending to children and pets in the backseat
Another common misconception among drivers who give in to distraction is that they have “just enough time” to perform another activity while maintaining their focus and control of the vehicle. Most know distracted driving is dangerous, but they nevertheless believe they can “get away with it.”
The fact that so many drivers embrace this illusion is the main reason that distracted driving has become such a significant issue.
In reality, distracted driving accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Fully aware drivers may struggle to avoid a crash in some circumstances, let alone somebody using a mobile phone or affected by another type of distraction.
How Does Distracted Driving Affect Children?
Even if they are strapped in a car seat, children may suffer serious injury in the event of an accident caused by a distracted driver. Kids who are riding bikes or crossing the street are also at risk when drivers fail to pay attention.
However, one commonly overlooked issue is the behaviour children learn when they see distracted driving. Kids who are exposed to distracted driving when they are young (usually by watching parents or older siblings) may be more likely to do the same when they are old enough to drive.
As a result, future generations may continue to struggle with the toll taken by distracted driving. If you drive with a child (or children) in the car, set a good example by staying focused and avoiding distractions.
Were You Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident?
Crashes caused by distracted drivers are subject to the same rules as other types of road accidents. In addition to TAC no-fault accident benefits, victims who are seriously injured may be entitled to additional compensation for losses stemming from the carelessness of the distracted driver.
Distracted driving is an inherently careless act. However, proving that the other driver was at fault and recovering the full compensation you deserve can be challenging. It is crucial to work with an experienced lawyer who can help you maximise your accident benefits and other compensation.
At Henry Carus + Associates, our entire team believes that You Deserve More. We provide compassionate, hands-on assistance through the duration of your claim, never letting up until we secure a favourable result on your behalf.
Please contact Henry Carus + Associates by calling 03 9001 1318 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and other areas of Victoria.