February 1, 2023

Debunking Distracted Driving Myths

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

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As Americans become more attached to their cell phones and the need for constant contact with work, family and entertainment, the most dangerous facet of distracted driving could be the myths surrounding it.

Statistics show there’s no denying the increased danger of distracted driving. From 2012 to 2020, over 29,000 people died due to distracted driving, according to distraction.gov.

Many states have outlawed text messaging while driving, but some drivers continue to sneak looks at incoming messages and respond. This causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for seconds that could be critical to avoiding crashes. What people don’t realize could hurt or kill them.

Here are some of the most common myths versus the facts.

MYTH: “I have hands-free texting and talking in my car, so I’m safe.”

FACT: Even though 80 percent of American motorists think hands-free devices installed in cars are safe to use, the statistics don’t bear it out.

Studies have shown that in many cases, hands-free dashboard centers are associated with a higher crash risk. Systems such as built-in phones, speech-to-text, and social media can still distract a driver. Hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free.

MYTH: “I can talk on a cell phone while driving. It’s not distracting.”

FACT: Motorists who talk on the cell phone while driving develop inattention blindness and direct roughly a third of their brain activity to the conversation rather than the road.

This means driving while talking on the phone can significantly reduce your attention on your surroundings—including traffic lights, stop signs, and pedestrians. New York City prohibits taxi drivers and novice drivers from talking on any cell phone, whether hands-free or hand-held while driving.

MYTH: “Talking to passengers can be just as distracting as a cell phone conversation.”

FACT: Passengers provide another set of eyes and help spot hazards. Passengers also can recognize when traffic is becoming difficult to maneuver and end the conversation.

MYTH: “Texting and driving is mostly done by teenage drivers.”

FACT: It’s true that drivers under 20 make up the largest proportion of distracted drivers, with 10 percent involved in deadly wrecks said to be distracted when they crashed.

Ten percent of parents admit to holding conversations involving multiple text messages. Drivers in their 20s account for a fourth of drivers involved in deadly distraction-related crashes.

Hurt by a Distracted Driver? Seek Legal Help

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver in NYC, you could be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer in NYC who can guide you through the legal system and make sure you receive an award you deserve to cover the costs of property damage, lost work time, physical injuries, and mental anguish.

Contact Hecht, Kleeger, & Damashek, P.C. today at (212) 289-8351 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.