Strong advocates for raising awareness of distracted driving, Bob and Eilene Okerblom, are currently cycling cross-country to get their message across about the dangers of traffic accidents caused by motorists who aren’t paying attention.
They would know. They’ve chosen to alert young drivers of the dangers of operating a vehicle while distracted after they lost their son, a 20-year-old University of California at Berkeley student, who was killed by a texting truck driver traveling at 60 MPH.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers understand the dangers of distracted driving, too. Too many motorists, teens especially, are involved in unnecessary accidents caused by distracted driving. These crashes are avoidable by practicing safe and focused driving habits.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 people were killed and an additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents that involved distracted driving in the United States in 2009. Statistics consistently show that the under-20 age group reports the greatest number of distracted driving incidents.
The Okerblom’s continue to spread the word about the consequences of distracted driving. The “Faces of Distracted Driving” video is now helping them to do so. The video, released by the NHTSA, is part of a series aimed at exploring the effects of distracted driving. It features people from across the U.S. that have experienced the consequences firsthand.
“Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Behind the statistics are real families who have been devastated by these tragedies. We’re pleased to be working with Consumer Reports to raise awareness and help communities fight this problem.”
A national representative survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found out just how widespread distracted driving is, especially among our younger drivers:
-94 percent have observed drivers using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
-64 percent have witnessed other drivers texting or using another hand-held devices while behind the wheel in the last 30 days.
-40 percent admit to texting while driving.
-63 percent fess up to using a hand-held phone while driving in the last 30 days.
-58 percent had witnessed a distracted driving related incident in the past month.
-Only 36 percent were concerned with the problems of distracted driving.
“My message is as personal as it can get: my son is dead because a driver was not focused on the road,” said Eilene Okerblom. “All I can do now is stand up for the protection of other lives.”
If you or a loved one has been in a distracted driving accident in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez. Call for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights at 1-800-529-2368.