In British Columbia, distracted driving laws – particularly those related to cell phone use – are strict and carry severe penalties. Nevertheless, every 30 minutes, someone suffers injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver. A driver with a phone in his or her hand is four times more susceptible to a collision resulting in serious injuries. It takes only a few seconds of inattention for tragedy to strike.
You may be painfully aware of these facts if you were recently involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver. Despite intensifying penalties and public awareness campaigns, many drivers persist in behaviours that jeopardize the well-being of others.
Distraction is more than texting
Texting behind the wheel gets a lot of attention. However, a distraction can be anything that prevents a driver from giving full focus to driving. Distractions can impede a driver's ability to make safe decisions and reduce a driver's reaction time, placing you and your loved ones in grave danger. In addition to texting and talking on a cell phone, some common distractions include the following:
- Using GPS systems on your phone or the vehicle's control panel
- Grooming, including putting on makeup, shaving or fixing you hair
- Adjusting the radio or programming music on an infotainment system
- Eating, drinking and smoking while driving
- Having conversations or carrying on with passengers
- Searching or reaching for items in the vehicle
Driving while emotionally distracted is also dangerous. Someone who is angry, upset or crying will certainly have more on his or her mind than the control of the vehicle.
As you can see, distractions can come from many sources. Safety advocates encourage drivers to be proactive in preventing distractions while they drive. This begins with keeping cell phones out of sight, but it also includes making a conscious decision to keep your full attention on the critical task of operating the vehicle safely.
Do not struggle alone
If you have suffered injuries resulting from another driver's distraction, you are likely dealing with many issues that place your life on hold. While you work toward your recovery, you may not have the energy to tussle with the ICBC to obtain the insurance benefits you need for your medical care. An experienced lawyer can advocate for you in this area as well as represent your case if it is in your best interests to pursue a personal injury claim against the distracted driver responsible for your pain and suffering.