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Distracted Driving Accidents: Government Confronts Twitter Users

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

Many social media users have strong thoughts on certain issues that they’re eager to share, and quarrels and confrontations over facts and differences of opinion on sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become increasingly common. A recent controversy erupted over posts made in defense of engaging in behavior such as talking on cell phones, taking photos, texting, and other activities while behind the wheel. Known as distracted driving, these types of activities can divert a driver’s attention from the road in front of them, resulting in an increase in car accidents and injuries. Much to some users’ surprise, a leading government agency became involved, calling out posts made in defense of distracted driving, disputing their claims, and exhorting the posters and other drivers to keep their attention on the road in front of them.

NHTSA Fights Back Over Posts In Defense of Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the government agency charged with protecting the public and helping to prevent car accidents and injuries. Through Distraction.gov, a website operated by the NHTSA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, they provide research and statistics on distracted driving and help raise awareness to the dangers.

According to an April 2016 CNET report, the NHTSA recently took to social media, in response to posts made by Twitter users who disputed that distractions such as cellphones and other electronic devices had any negative impact on their driving skill. Using the hashtag #justdrive, an unidentified NHTSA administrator responded to the posts, admonishing the users for their behavior and encouraging them to keep their focus on the road. Controversy over the posts raised questions as to whether the comments were simply the result of a disgruntled employee, or if it was the beginning of a new and somewhat unorthodox campaign to raise awareness.

Why Distracted Driving Is So Dangerous

According to NHTSA, the dangers in using your driving time to engage in other activities is that it takes your focus away from your primary tasks of operating your vehicle in a safe manner, while being conscious and aware of events going on around you. There are three basic types of distractions:

  • Visual distractions, which requires you to take your eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions, in which you remove your hands from the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions, where you are thinking or concentrating on someone or something else, when your attention should be on navigating your way safely through traffic

Most activities drivers engage in, such as eating, talking to passengers, changing radio stations, and talking on cellphones and texting, involve some combination of visual, manual, and cognitive efforts. The NHTSA points out that when you add in the types of activities that distract drivers, as well as the amount of time spent engaged in these activities, the amount of time a driver’s attention is diverted explains why these types of accidents are so common.

Reach Out to Us for Professional Assistance

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm. Our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys can help you hold reckless drivers accountable for the damages they cause, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover.

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