You're taking a sip of coffee while adjusting the GPS settings. All of a sudden your car comes screeching to a halt as you hit another vehicle. This is an occurrence that is all too common, as distracted driving has become an epidemic on America’s highways and roads.
Oftentimes the difference between a driver safely avoiding a car accident or becoming another distracted driving statistic is just a split second.
In 2019 alone, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people in the country. That represents a 10% increase compared to the previous year.
Drivers ages 16-24 have been shown to use handheld electronic devices at higher rates. Every age group is impacted by distracted driving, however, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Texting while driving - which is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distraction - is banned across 48 states in the country, while 25 states and territories prohibit using cell phones while driving. A total of 39 states expand bans further by making it illegal for teens or novice drivers to use cell phones as well.
What's the distracted driving law in Montana?
Currently, the only place in the country without any statewide laws about distracted driving is the state of Montana, though a handful of cities have passed their own local legislation to make texting while driving illegal, including:
- Columbia Falls
- Great Falls
The Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda-Deer Lodge counties also prohibit drivers from reading or sending a text while driving.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Throughout the month of April, there have been campaigns across the country to raise awareness about the issue of distracted driving. Distracted driving is a problem year-round, but the issue is being highlighted this month to educate drivers and provide safety tips that could save lives.
- Making sure not to use social media while driving.
- Storing phones or other electronic devices in the trunk, back seat, glove box, or another location in the vehicle that isn't easily within reach.
- Pulling over to the side of the road or in another safe location such as a gas station or parking lot to read or send a text.
- Designating a passenger to read or send texts, answer calls, read notifications, etc.
Putting awareness into practice
There’s a list of everyday actions that people can take to prevent injury or death due to distracted driving. The list includes reminding passengers to not distract the driver, telling distracted drivers to focus on the road, and taking a pledge against distracted driving on social media through the #JustDrive campaign.
Across the country, there have been numerous efforts to raise awareness about the issue of distracted driving. State laws against using cellphones while driving were the main focus. Increased law enforcement on U.S. roadways was another way to remind drivers of the legal ramifications and fines that could result from unsafe driving.
Braukmann Law goes the extra mile for crash victims
At Braukmann Law, PLLC, attorney Matthew Braukmann understands how confusing and stressful it can be if you're trying to recover appropriate compensation for your damages after an accident. If you or someone you love was injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, our law firm can aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for every dollar you deserve so that you don't have to pay for someone else's reckless actions.
Our office is located in Billings and we proudly serve clients throughout Montana. We also offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no legal fees unless we win your case.
Contact us today for a free consultation.