Police officers throughout Michigan are stepping up traffic enforcement in an effort to draw increased attention to risky driving behaviors — particularly cell phone use — and help curb distracted driving accidents.
What is distracted driving? It is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from operating the vehicle. It includes using a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers and messing with a vehicle’s radio, entertainment or navigation system.
Cell Phones And Distracted Driving Accidents
Cell phones are a leading cause of distracted driving accidents and car accident injuries in Michigan. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some 660,000 drivers nationwide are using their cell phones at any given time during daylight hours.
In Michigan, there were more than 7,500 distracted driving accidents in 2015. Cell phones reportedly contributed to 753 of those Michigan auto accident deaths.
It is impossible, however, to know the actual scope of the cell phone use problem, says the National Safety Council (NSC), because there is currently no reliable method for determining how many distracted driving accidents involve cell phone use. According to the NSC, there is an under-reporting of cell phone use in auto accidents, which has resulted in a “substantial under-estimation of the magnitude of this public safety threat.”
Basically, it boils down to this: drivers who use their cell phones to talk, text, email and update their social media status while operating a motor vehicle significantly increase their chances of an auto accident.
Distracted Driving Accidents On Michigan Dangerous Roads
The risk of a collision increases even more when drivers use their cell phones while traveling through an area that is recognized as a Michigan dangerous road, due to factors like shifting traffic patterns, merging lanes, sharp turns and heavy traffic.
For example, there are numerous Lansing accidents on I-496 and US-127. So far in 2017, there have been dozens of crashes along this stretch of highway. In 2015, nearly 130 accidents were reported around this Lansing interchange. As a result, motorists who use their cell phones while traveling the I-496 and US-127 corridor, rather than focusing on the road, dramatically increase their risk of an auto accident.
In this video, Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas talks about distracted driving accidents, and cell phone use in particular.
Is “Hands-Free” Technology Safer?
According to the NSC, it is not necessarily safer to use hands-free technology while driving. The NSC says that hands-free devices give motorists a false sense of security because:
- the human brain simply cannot do two things at the same time.
- the area of the brain that processes moving images actually decreases by up to 1/3 when talking on a phone.
- drivers looking out the car windshield while talking on a cell phone can miss seeing up to 50 percent of what’s around them.
To stay safe, it is emphasized that drivers need to do three things: keep their eyes on the road, keep their hands on the wheel and keep their minds on driving.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you get the insurance benefits and compensation that you deserve. Contact our Lansing car accident lawyers or Grand Rapids auto accident attorneys today for a free consultation.