April 2011 Archives

April 26, 2011

April awareness month reduces risk of distracted driving car accidents in Alabama

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that more than 1.6 million crashes occur each year as the result of someone driving distracted.

Twenty-eight percent of crashes nationwide are caused by a driver using a cell phone, either hands-free or hand-held, to text or talk while driving.
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Our Montgomery personal injury lawyers know the devastation that victims and their families go through when dealing with the aftermath of a serious or fatal Montgomery car accident. We applaud the effort being made by the NSC and FocusDriven (an advocate group for cell-free driving) to dedicate the month of April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The House of Representatives voted last month, almost unanimously, on the resolution introduced by Rep. Betsy Markey to create distracted driving awareness month following the tragic death of a 9-year-old girl who was killed by a distracted driver in Colorado in 2008.

"Erica's memory will forever live on through this resolution and help prevent other distracted driving deaths from occurring," said Shelley Forney, Erica's mother and founding board member of FocusDriven.

Throughout the month of April, the two non-profit groups are asking drivers to put their cell phones on silence or turn them off completely while they are behind the wheel. To further reduce the risk of a distracted driving accident, they urge you to put the phone in the trunk or glove compartment so that there is absolutely no temptation to answer a ring tone or text alert when it comes in.

"If drivers can go one month without using their phones while driving, they will find out - as many of us have - work still gets done. Many drivers realize most of the calls they thought were so important, really aren't. It is our hope drivers will decide to make the change permanently. Doing so will make our roadways safer for everyone," said Jennifer Smith, FocusDriven president and founding board member.

Drivers are encouraged to create a temporary voicemail message that notifies callers they are driving but will return their call as soon as it is safe to do so.

Businesses and corporations that offer a cell phone to their employees are encouraged to participate in awareness this month by creating a company policy to prohibit employees from using their phone while driving. Employees tend to multi-task while in the car -- especially at work -- but this can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

When businesses allow employees to conduct business on cell phones while driving, they are putting their employees at a 4 times greater risk of a crash," said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO.

The NSC offers a variety of resources that can help companies protect their employees. The Cell Phone Policy Kit for Employers is one tool that businesses can use to adopt a policy that fits within their expectations. By creating awareness and emphasizing safety, employers can keep their workers safe and reduce the risk of a distracted driving accident while on company time.

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