Today is a big day for college basketball lovers - and especially for Mizzou fans here in Columbia: it marks the beginning of the NCAA tournament. While the Tigers don't play until tomorrow evening, we know that lots of Missourians follow the entire tournament closely - and with the help of modern technology, you can watch a game pretty much anywhere. There are several apps that offer live updates and streaming game film. While our Columbia car accident attorneys love March Madness, we hope you won't make the mistake of checking your bracket while you're behind the wheel.
By now, most drivers are familiar with risks and consequences of distracted driving, and yet a good number of them continue to engage in distracting behaviors - especially cell phone use. According to the Governors' Highway Safety Association, it's legal for all licensed drivers in the state of Missouri to talk on cell phone while driving. As for text messaging, only drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from sending and receiving texts at the wheel. In sum, Missouri has some of the most relaxed distraction-related laws in the country.
In 2010, there were approximately 3,100 people who lost their lives on U.S. roadways because of distraction-related car accidents - accidents that are completely preventable with a little bit of driver responsibility. Safety officials strongly recommend that drivers curb as many distractions as possible while operating a motor vehicle. "Inattention is a leading cause of traffic crashes," said Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Replogle.
During the first half of 2010, there were nearly 800 Missouri traffic accidents that were caused by distracted drivers: these accidents resulted in nearly 10 fatalities and roughly 240 injuries. To help reduce the risks of distraction-related car accidents, we offer you a few simple rules and safety tips to help increase roadway safety for all drivers.
• Put your phone on silent before you get into your car - that way, you won't even be tempted to answer it. You can also place portable electronic devices out of sight to reduce temptation while driving.
• Set up a voicemail message that alerts callers that you may not be answering the phone because you're driving at the moment.
• If you have to take a call, read a text, or send an email (or check the Mizzou score), pull over in a safe area before doing so.
• Use your resources: have passengers place or answer phone calls for you, if needed.
• Remember that distractions can also include eating, smoking, drinking, messing with the stereo and talking to other passengers when driving. Keep these activities to a bare minimum when operating a motor vehicle.
We hope to see more and more drivers implement these safety practices. There's no call or text that is worth risking your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers and other motorists. And while we understand that March Madness is a more than serious matter for many basketball fans, we implore you to refrain from checking scores (or worse, watching games) while you're behind the wheel.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a distraction-related car accident in Columbia, Jeff City, or any of the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Aaron Sachs & Associates for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-888-777-AUTO.
More Blog Entries:
The Cost of Distracted Driving in Columbia, Missouri and Nationwide; Columbia Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 24, 2012
Distracted Jefferson City, Missouri Drivers Cause 25% of All Car Accidents; Columbia Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2012