How safe is GPS use while driving?

GPSWhen you think of distracted driving, what comes to mind?

Most people think of talking on a cell phone or sending a text message while driving. But there are many other forms of distracted driving that can be just as dangerous. Continue reading “How safe is GPS use while driving?”

Ohio Lawmakers Taking Steps To Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents

distracted drivingDistracted driving is a threat to all motorists. In Ohio, distracted driving caused or contributed to 14,000 accidents in 2016. But despite the known dangers, many people continue to use a phone and otherwise multitask while they are driving.

Continue reading “Ohio Lawmakers Taking Steps To Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents”

What You Need To Know About “Do Not Disturb While Driving” On iPhone

distracted drivingThe new iOS 11 update on the Apple iPhone contains a safety feature that could prevent accidents and save lives.

The Do Not Disturb While Driving feature has been added to the latest update. It works by blocking text messages and phone calls while the device’s owner is driving. Continue reading “What You Need To Know About “Do Not Disturb While Driving” On iPhone”

Staying Safe On The Roads This Labor Day Weekend

Labor DayLabor Day is just around the corner. For many individuals and families, it means planning one last summer outing. Many motorists will be hitting the road, enjoying the last 3-day weekend of the summer.

In 2016, Labor Day was September 6th. According to the Ohio Department Of Public Safety, there were more injuries and deaths due to car accidents in Ohio in September than in any other month.  Continue reading “Staying Safe On The Roads This Labor Day Weekend”

100 Deadliest Days: 5 Dangers to Discuss with Your Teen Driver

Did you know we are in the middle of the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers?

Over the past five years more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day and in recent weeks, tragic accidents have claimed the lives of several Ohio teens. Continue reading “100 Deadliest Days: 5 Dangers to Discuss with Your Teen Driver”

Top Holiday Driving Hazards

Driving when you’re impaired or distracted is always dangerous – but add low visibility, the potential for ice and snow and the pressures that come with the holiday season, and December just might be one of the most dangerous months to be on the road. This year, avoid the four most dangerous holiday driving hazards.

winter driving

Read before you go: What to do if you get stuck in the snow

The four most dangerous holiday driving hazards 

1. Distracted Driving

Driving while using cell phones for both talking and texting holiday messages can put you and other drivers at risk. Pull over when using your smart phone to check out store hours and locations.

2. Drunk Driving

Holiday dinners and celebrations frequently include alcohol, and sometimes, even drugs. In 2014, 12,480 OVI-related crashes occurred on Ohio roadways. These resulted in 340 deaths and more than 7,000 injuries, according to the Department of Public Safety[1]. December was among the top months, with 1,104 impaired driving crashes. “This holiday season, give yourself the gift of a designated driver,” urges Elk & Elk Managing Partner Arthur M. Elk. “If you plan on consuming alcohol, take a cab, designate a sober driver or use a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft to help get you home safely.”

“This holiday season, give yourself the gift of a designated driver.”

 – Arthur M. Elk

3. Emotional Driving

Stress brought on by the holidays can be overwhelming and those emotions have a serious effect on our driving. If you are worried, upset, frightened, depressed or even feeling extremely happy, your driving skills can be as diminished as they would be if you were texting or intoxicated. Drivers often react to these pressures by driving too fast for conditions, making aggressive lane changes, failing to yield right-of-way and generally disregarding the needs and safety of others using the road.

4. Drowsy Driving

Busy schedules during the winter holidays can lead to insufficient sleep, warns Elk. “Drowsy driving can decrease your reaction time, impair your vision or judgment and can increase your chances of getting into a car crash.”

Even if you take steps to avoid common holiday driving hazards, bad weather or the actions of other drivers may cause a traffic crash to occur. Make sure you have these essential winter items in your car at all times.

 

 


 

[1] Ohio Department of Public Safety. Ohio Traffic Crash Facts 2014. Columbus, 2015. http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/links/2014CrashFacts.pdf

Prom and Graduation: Safe Driving

Prom and graduation season is exciting, but unfortunately, the months of April, May, and June are also the most dangerous times for high school students. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. One out of three teen crashes is alcohol related and distracted driving results in thousands of deaths.

To help reduce teen deaths and injuries and encourage safe driving, each spring, Elk & Elk sponsors None 4 Under 21 and Choices Beyond. This community-based event encourages high school students to make safe driving choices and demonstrates the serious consequences of drunk and distracted driving.

While drunk driving is a serious problem, distracted driving has emerged as a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. That’s why we feel it is important to go beyond the message of drinking and driving and talk about the message of distractions.

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract them from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. Distractions include, talking or texting on a cell phone, grooming, eating or drinking, changing radio stations, or talking to passengers.

Distracted Driving: Alarming Teen Statistics

  • In 2013, 3,154 people were killed, and an estimated 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • A recent analysis of crash videos revealed distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times higher than previous official estimates.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—the equivalent of driving blind at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.
  • If you text and drive, you’re 23 times more likely to be in a car accident.

Take the Pledgeth-pledge

We know talking to young adults about drunk and distracted driving can be difficult. To help start the conversation, we encourage you to join Elk & Elk’s effort to promote safe driving by downloading our free Parent-Teen Pledge. It is designed to help families set ground rules for both teen drivers and adults. After you sign it, hang the Pledge by the car keys or near the front door as a reminder to drive responsibly. Don’t just sign the Pledge, take it to heart. It just might save a life.

 

Sources:

AAA: Distracted driving a huge factor in teen driver crashes” by Wyatt Andrews, CBS News, March 25, 2015

Labor Day Safe Driving Tips

National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend.For many people, Labor Day means a road trip to celebrate the final days of warm weather with family and friends. AAA predicts more than 1.4 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend, with national estimates just under 35 million.

Unfortunately, the busy holiday traffic also means an increase in motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NCS), about 395 people will be killed and another 42,300 will be injured in car crashes during Labor Day weekend. Of those, NCS estimates 144 lives could be saved if all drivers and their passengers wear seat belts.

Don’t be a statistic

“Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer activities – it should be a time of celebration,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman president and CEO of NSC. “Unfortunately this weekend will be a time of tragedy for hundreds of families that experience a preventable fatality on our roadways.”

  • Don’t drink and drive. Designate a non-drinking driver or plan for alternative transportation, such as a taxi
  • Turn it off. All drivers should refrain from using cell phones – handheld or hands-free – because there is no safe way to use a cell phone while driving
  • Eyes on the road. Do not manipulate in-vehicle infotainment systems or electronic devices, including GPS systems, while the vehicle is in motion
  • Buckle up. Make sure all passengers use their safety belts and children are in safety seats appropriate for their age and size
  • Take your time. Allow plenty of travel time to avoid frustration and diminish the impulse to speed
  • Use your head. Drive defensively, check your blind spots and exercise caution, especially during inclement weather

From all of us at Elk & Elk,

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

 

 

Source:

National Safety Council estimates nearly 400 fatalities in car crashes during Labor Day weekend” August 25, 2014 | nsc.org

NTSB Most Wanted List 2014

Are you one of this country’s ‘Most Wanted?’ If you’ve been using your cell phone or other portable electronic device while driving, then you’ve been engaging in distracted driving—one of the top priorities for the national Transportation Safety Board.

Each year, the NTSB releases its Most Wanted List, which represents their advocacy priorities. It is designed to highlight the most critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives. This year, the agency is pursuing a number of goals, including the elimination of distractions in all modes of transportation—highway, aviation, railroad, marine, and even pipelines.

While this may seem like a daunting task, you can do your part by making the commitment to drive phone-free and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Check out our infographic to learn more.

Distracted Driving Infographic

 According to the NTSB website, cell phones and other electronics are a “cultural epidemic.”

“With the expansive increase in portable electronic devices (PEDs), including cell phones, messaging and navigation systems, and entertainment devices, as well as the growing development of integrated technologies in vehicles, the NTSB is seeing a disturbing growth in the number of accidents due to distracted operators; often these accidents have deadly consequences. . . In short, operator distraction due to PED usage is a cultural epidemic that too often has tragic consequences.”

The complete NTSB Most Wanted List includes the following goals:

  • Address Unique Characteristics of Helicopter Operations
  • Advance Passenger Vessel Safety
  • Eliminate Distraction in Transportation
  • Eliminate Substance-Impaired Driving
  • Enhance Pipeline Safety
  • Improve Fire Safety in Transportation
  • General Aviation: Identify and Communicate Hazardous Weather
  • Implement Positive Train Control Systems
  • Promote Operational Safety in Rail Mass Transit
  • Strengthen Occupant Protection in Transportation

 

 

 

 

Distracted Driving Puts Pedestrians, Cyclists at Risk

A distracted driver hitting another motorist seems to be in the news daily. However, it’s not just drivers and occupants of vehicles who are in danger. A new report reveals that the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by distracted driving has risen dramatically.

From 2005 to 2010, the number of pedestrians struck and killed by distracted drivers in the United States went up nearly 50 percent, from 344 to 500. For cyclists, the numbers of those killed rose from 56 to 73 – a 30 percent increase.

cross walk

Sadly, statistics related to distracted driving may actually be underreported since it is difficult for law enforcement to prove. Although safety features in cars are helping to reduce the number of motorist deaths, bicyclists and pedestrians remain vulnerable. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.

‘Tis the Season

While we should always focus on our driving and refrain from texting or other distracting behaviors, the holidays pose a special risk. This time of year brings an influx of drivers and pedestrians to many areas as we all rush around, buying gifts and preparing for parties. The attorneys at Elk & Elk remind you that one text or call could wreck it all. Please commit to distraction-free driving.

Ways to keep pedestrians safe

On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. To raise awareness, the NHTSA has launched a new campaign entitled Everyone is a Pedestrian.

Drivers can…

  • Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians, too.
  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.

Pedestrians can…

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

 

Source:  Fatalities of Pedestrians, Bicycle Riders, and Motorists Due to Distracted Driving Motor Vehicle Crashes in the U.S., 2005–2010” by Jim P. Stimpson, PhD; Fernando A. Wilson, PhD; and Robert L. Muelleman, MD; Public Health Reports, University of Nebraska Medical Center, November-December 2013.