You could be on your way to work or just taking a leisurely drive on the Strip when you hear the ding of a text message or the ring of an incoming call on your phone. You may be tempted to reach over and quickly read the message or answer the call. After all, what harm could it do?
Sadly, it could cause a lot of harm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed every day due to distracted drivers on U.S. roads. You may be asking yourself what constitutes as distracted driving? This post will outline what falls under this category and what you should do if you have been in an accident due to distracted driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
In Nevada, there are three categories of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. In each case, the driver is doing something that pulls their focus from the road and onto something else.
- Visual: This means taking your eyes off the road for whatever reason, whether you are looking at your phone, glancing away to grab something, or even checking your radio station.
- Manual: If you take your hands off the wheel to send a text or grab some food, this falls under manual distracted driving since you are physically creating the distraction.
- Cognitive: Any interruption that pulls your mind’s focus from the task of driving is a cognitive distraction. This could be talking to others in the car, finishing up a phone call, or checking a map.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
Many people may think that they can easily use their phone and steer their car without a problem. However, every instance of distracted driving can be just moments away from a tragic accident. To help protect yourself against distractions behind the wheel, here are a few tips you can follow.
- Avoid using or looking at your phone. Phones should only be used in emergency situations and, to ensure safety for everyone on the road, you should pull over when possible if you need to make a call.
- Rest if you are tired. Drowsy driving is also classified as distracted driving, so if you feel yourself getting so sleepy that you keep closing your eyes, it’s time to pull off and get some much-needed sleep.
- When possible, limit passengers and in-car distractions. The more people in the car, the more likely the driver is to lose focus on the road.
- Refrain from eating while driving. Unwrapping a burger or reaching for french fries can take your attention from driving and make you less attentive than other drivers.
How Distracted Driving Affects You
When someone gets distracted while driving, they are more likely to cause an accident because they are not paying enough attention to the road and other vehicles around them. Not only can these accidents cause immense physical damage to people and cars, they can even be deadly.
As of October 2011, the state of Nevada has enacted a no-tolerance policy for distracted driving with the goal of having zero fatalities on our roads. This means that using your phone for texting, hand-held phone calls, or browsing the internet is now illegal and will result in a ticket and accompanying fine, which go up in rates depending on whether it is your first, second, third, or higher offense.
Typically, younger drivers are at a higher risk of experiencing distracted driving due to their age. Nevada currently has two laws in place to help reduce younger distracted drivers.
- First, drivers under the age of 18 may not drive with anyone in the vehicle except immediate family members within the first six months of having their license.
- Second, 16 and 17-year-olds may not drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions to this would be scheduled events such as school or work.
How to Handle These Accidents
If you or a loved one has been in an accident or injured as a result of distracted driving, you will want to contact a lawyer to discuss your case. The legal team at Shook & Stone has over eight decades of combined experience working with personal injury cases and we can help you navigate all aspects of your case.
Have you found yourself with a distracted driving fine or allegation and you want to know what you can do to fight it? We can help you with that, too. We understand all the ins and outs of Nevada’s distracted driving laws and can assist you in working through the charges.
As a premier law firm in Nevada, our focus is on helping our clients through any personal injury cases they may face. When you want a trusted legal team on your side, you want Shook & Stone. You can contact our team 24/7 for a free consultation by calling 702-570-0000. We are ready and willing to help you today.