We just finished a distracted driving crackdown here in Minnesota, and while the total citation numbers have not yet been released, the goal of the enforcement was to open people’s eyes up to the dangers of distracted driving. You might think that driving doesn’t require your full attention, but that’s just simply not true. Even things like eating and drinking are enough to distract you from a pedestrian or a vehicle stopped in your path; you can learn about distracted driving from the Millar Law Firm in Atlanta and even use their services if you have been injured thanks to the negligence of another driver.
If you’re not paying full attention to the road, your risk of getting in an accident skyrockets. But just how much are distractions increasing your likelihood of getting in an accident? A new program in Kandiyohi County is helping to quantify that risk.
How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?
Traffic safety experts in Kandiyohi County are trying to help teenagers and other drivers understand just how dangerous distracted driving can be. To do this, they developed a probability wheel that explains how much higher your risk of getting in an accident is by factoring in your distractions compared to a driver whose attention is fully focused on the road.
You can take a closer look at the wheel in the picture included in the blog, but it works by turning the wheel to list the distractions and listing an increased risk of getting in an accident. For example, if your teenage driver picks up a friend and goes for a drive, their risk of getting in an accident increases 139 percent. At it’s worst, let’s say your teen driver is driving at night with two passengers, is texting and reaches for something that fell on the floor. Their probability of getting in a crash just increased 2,382 percent.
The probability wheel has some limitations in that it can’t account for all possible distractions, but some of the distractions that are listed on the wheel include:
- Time of day
- Number of passengers
- Talking on the phone
- Texting/emailing on their phone
- Adjusting hair or makeup
- Reaching for an object
Interestingly, Kandiyohi County has found the most success with the wheels by leaving them in the waiting rooms of doctors throughout the county. When teens go in for a physical or a health checkup they often pick up the device and give it a quick look. Stacey Zondervan, a Clinic Manager at a medical center in Willmar, said lectures about distracted driving don’t really work, but these wheels reach kids in a different way.
“Teens don’t appreciate those lengthy lectures about the bad things they’re doing, but the wheel gives them an opportunity for self-discovery,” said Zondervan.
Why are doctors and clinic offices great locations for these wheels and to have a discussion about the dangers of distracted driving? Because doctors have seen the consequences of distracted driving firsthand.
“Traffic crashes are the second leading cause of death for Minnesota teens, so doctors have a vested interest in helping teens to be safer drivers and passengers.” said Stephanie Felt, coordinator of the Kandiyohi County Traffic Education and Safety Team. “The messaging coming from medical providers is important, because people trust their doctors, and doctors don’t have a lot of time to waste on things that aren’t important.”
Aside from being dangerous, it is downright illegal. Were you one of the drivers who was ticketed for distracted driving during the recent crackdown, or are you facing other traffic charges? If so, reach out to the experienced traffic lawyers at Appelman Law Firm. We’ll work with you to help get the charges reduced or dropped so you don’t have to worry about insurance increases or the potential loss of your license.