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Distracted Driving Still a Major Cause of Wisconsin Accidents

Over the years, many new safety features have been installed in vehicles to make them safer on the roads. These safety features helped reduce accidents and deaths on the roadways for a period of time. However, over the past decade, the number of traffic deaths and accidents is again on the rise. One of the reasons may be because of distracted driving. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) distracted driving accounts for 25% to 50% of all accidents.

What is Distracted Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,166 people died in 2017 due to distracted driving. Distracted driving is driving while you are inattentive.

Distracted driving may be manual, cognitive, or visual:

  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving
  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road

Texting is notably one of the most serious forms of distracted driving because it causes all three types of distraction at once. Some other examples of distracted driving are eating or drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, adjusting the entertainment or navigation system, applying makeup and any other actions. Any time that you are multitasking while you are behind the wheel, you are driving while distracted.

Wisconsin Laws That Address Distracted Driving

Wisconsin has a zero-tolerance policy for distracted driving. Wisconsin Statute 346.89 addresses inattentive driving. The law states that no person may engage in any activity that interferes with driving while behind the wheel. In addition, the law specifically prohibits the use of a cellular phone or wireless device while driving, except to report an emergency. The police may ticket anyone who is found to be using a cell phone while driving. The driver may receive a citation and pay a fee of at least $40 for a first offense and $100 for a subsequent offense.

It is important to note that a police officer may stop a vehicle because of cell phone use. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation advises that the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the most dangerous for our roadways.

Wisconsin teen drivers are responsible for about 13 accidents daily due to distracted driving. Drivers should be particularly cautious and should always put down their cell phones when they get behind the wheel. Parents must caution young drivers of the dangers of texting while driving and should set a good example by turning off their own cell phones when they are driving.

If you were hurt in an accident caused by distracted driving, it is best to seek legal help from an experienced law firm. Your attorney will work to obtain information and data to prove the other driver was negligent. The negligent driver is responsible for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages caused by the accident. Contact our skilled legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. for a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your injuries.

Published July 28, 2019
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