Distracted Driving Accidents
Each year, more than 400,000 injuries in the United States are reported to be the result of distracted driving. And with more and more drivers having access to mobile devices and other potentially distracting technologies, these numbers have been gradually increasing over the years.
In an effort to cut down on traffic accidents caused by distracted driving, many states across the country have begun to enact laws that penalize distracted drivers with tickets, fines, and other penalties. Specific laws vary from state to state, but Missouri is in line with many other states across the country with strict laws against distracted driving.
If you’re a driver in the state of Missouri, it’s important that you take the time to understand the laws and your rights when it comes to distracted driving. If you have recently been pulled over and issued a citation for distracted driving, you may also want to consider consulting with an experienced lawyer.
Understanding Missouri Distracted Driving Laws
In Missouri, the state defines distracted driving as any visual, physical, or cognitive distraction. Some examples would include any activity that requires you to take your eyes off the road in front of you, taking your hands off the wheel, or taking your general focus away from the task of driving.
Interestingly enough, Missouri is still one of just a few states that does not yet have a law specifically against texting while driving, despite the fact that this is probably one of the most common causes of distracted driving to begin with. Instead, the state bans texting and other use of cell phones only for drivers under the age of 21 and for drivers with commercial licenses.
Common Types of Distractions While Driving
In addition to texting and driving, there are a number of other common activities that tend to result in auto accidents in the state of Missouri and across the country. For example, entering information into a handheld GPS device while driving an be a serious distraction, as can attempting to apply makeup while behind the wheel or eating/drinking while driving.
Even just talking to a passenger in your vehicle (or trying to tend to children in the back seat) can be very dangerous, as can listening to loud music. Specifically, loud music can prevent you from hearing sirens from emergency vehicles attempting to pass you, which can result in serious accidents.
Regardless of the distraction, the most important task of law enforcement when it comes to issuing a citation for distracted driving is being able to prove that the driver was being negligent while driving. This is where having an experienced distracted driving lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving
The good news is that avoiding a distracted driving citation (or even worse, causing an accident due to distracted driving) is relatively easy. For starters, drivers should make it a habit to never use their phones while driving. If you must make a phone call or use your phone’s GPS, use voice-recognition software and digital assistant features that come standard on most phones these days. Remember that looking down at your phone for even a second could be the difference between getting into an accident and staying safe on the road.
In addition to avoiding distractions caused by handheld devices, it’s also important to minimize human distractions in your vehicle. If you’re driving with others in the car, make sure they’re not taking away from your ability to focus on the road in front of you. If you’re driving with children and need to handle something in the back seat, pull safely off the road.
Finally, remember that keeping your eyes on the road is just as important as keeping your ears open. Your music should never be so loud that you’re unable to hear sirens from emergency vehicles with which you may be sharing the road.
Unfortunately, avoiding distractions on the road doesn’t mean that you can rely on other drivers to do the same. This is where defensive driving skills can really come in handy to help you avoid an accident. And if you notice a driver who is clearly distracted and is creating a dangerous situation on the roads, don’t hesitate to call your local police to report the driver. Try to have a description of the vehicle (including license plate number, if possible), location, and direction of travel available when you call.
When to Contact a Distracted Driving Lawyer
If you’ve been in an accident as a result of another driver’s carelessness or if you have been cited for distracted driving, a lawyer can help protect your rights and represent your best interests. Contact us today to set up your consultation with the legal team at Bley & Evans Trial Attorneys. There will be no charge for the initial evaluation, and from there we can work tirelessly to guide you through the often complicated legal process and work toward the best outcome possible in your case. Contact our office at 844-443-8385.