April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Most of the cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs offered for sale in Maryland and around the country come packed with sophisticated electronic systems to entertain drivers and provide them with information, but a growing number of road safety advocates worry that this type of technology could actually be causing harm. The National Safety Council says that a majority of drivers assume that electronic equipment installed by car makers is safe to use, but the nonprofit organization believes that it could be contributing to a surge in the number of distracted driving accidents.

The NSC has named April the Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the advocacy group is offering free resources such as infographics, posters, videos and tips to help drive home the message that a single phone call or text could lead to tragedy. The NSC says that multitasking has become routine among the nation’s drivers, and the problem is most acute among younger motorists who use cellphones frequently and lack experience behind the wheel.

While several states have passed laws that allow motorists to use only hands-free devices, none have outlawed the use of mobile phones by drivers completely. However, the NSC is encouraging companies that have fleets to take independent action, and the organization is providing cellphone policy kits to them at no charge during its April initiative.

Establishing that a driver was distracted at the time of a crash may sometimes be challenging for personal injury attorneys seeking compensation on behalf of accident victims. Motorists sometimes blame such crashes on mechanical failure or poor road conditions, and attorneys may scrutinize accident reports or have vehicles inspected to show that such accounts are not borne out by the facts. Attorneys could also seek to obtain a driver’s cellphone records.