Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney Jonathan Rooker's Blog about distracted driving:
While representing a client on a DUI charge I was at the Fresno DMV Driver Safety Office, I noticed an information brochure about distracted driving that caught my attention. Due to the similarities between the characteristics of a distracted driver and a drunk driver (DUI) I am reproducing the DMV's information below. It is not intended as legal information, and DMV info may change without notice.
DISTRACTIONS ARE EVERYWHERE:
Driving is a serious responsibility that demands and deserves your full attention. Driver distractions may occur anytime, anywhere. A distraction is anything that takes your attention away from driving, such as:
* A Billboard
* The passengers in your car
* Choosing a CD or tape
Distraction contribute to one out of four accidents. That is is 4,300 accidents every day, resulting in one-and-a-half million accidents a year!
DRIVING DISTRACTIONS STUDY:
A California Highway Patrol study found that the leading factors causing distracted driving accidents are:
* Cell phone use
* Attending to Children
Dial D" for Disaster:
While it's hard to imagine life without a cell phone, you increase teh risk of having an accident by 400 percent every time you use your cell phone when driving. Your focus on driving is diverted when you enter a number or get involved in a conversation. Doing other tasks while talking on the cell phone, such as note-taking or searching for something, increases your risk of having an accident. If you are on the freeway, take the next exit and park in a safe location before you use your cell phone.
REMEMBER: Driving safely is always more important than using or answering your cell phone.
ARE YOU EATING A CRASH DIET?
Eating while driving is not only messy, but dangerous. It usually involves driving with one hand and juggling your food or beverage with the other. Leave a little early to allow yourself time to stop for a bit to eat. Pull over to a safe location and enjoy your meal.
ARE YOU BEING DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION?
Be sure your children are properly and safely buckled up, and give them distractions -- books, games, or other times -- to occupy their time.
Avoid arguments and other disturbing conversations while driving.
Pets can be unpredictable. Properly secure them in a pet carrier or portable kennel before moving your vehicle.
TURNING DIALS CAN TURN YOUR HEAD:
"Dialing in" you destination on a navigation system, searching for your favorite tune on the radio, or adjusting the vehicle's climate control can be hazardous. These activities make you six times more likely to be involved in an accident.
Taking your eyes of the road fort two seconds at 60 MPH means you have traveled blindly for half the length of a football field. Try these tips.
* Adjust controls before you begin your trip.
* Take advantage of normal stops to adjust controls
* Pull over to a safe place before you adjust the dials.
LOOKS CAN KILL...
The urge to get a good look at an accident, a vehicle pulled over by law enforcement, construction work, a billboard advertisement, a scenic view, or to look for an address-- is just human nature. The best advice: Don't Look. Those things are never more important than focusing on your driving. Diverting you concentration from driving can be deadly.
DISTRACTIONS AND YOUNG DRIVERS:
In the US, vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers.
Drivers and distractions, risk taking, and inexperience contribute to more than 5,000 teenage deaths each year. Talking with other teenage passengers or friends in another vehicle, Cruising, wearing headphones or earplugs (illegal in California and most states), or playing music too loudly, can be deadly when combined with driving. Keep focused on driving safely and staying alive.
OTHER DEADLY DISTRACTIONS
Reading a newspaper, a book, or a map, and personal grooming, such as hair-combing, shaving, or applying makeup, are examples of what people should NOT do while driving. Smoking is a health and safety hazard, especially while driving. Lighting up, putting out cigarettes, or dealing with falling ashes can present a deadly distraction. The safe solution is simple: Never do any of these things while driving.
Stay focused. Pay attention. Expect the unexpected.
Follow these simple tips to help you stay alive:
* Follow the safety tips in this blog
* Properly buckle up everyone.
* Be well-rested
* Do not tailgate.
* Allow sufficient time to reach your destination
* Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained.
REMINDER: A vehicle is like a loaded gun, it can be a deadly weapon.