It’s not uncommon to see drivers typing away at their phones or making calls. Using phones while driving is a form of distracted driving. It’s dangerous for distracted driver and the people around them.
The Minnesota Hands-Free Law seeks to make roads safer. It curbs distracted driving that occurs through phone use.
If you were in a car accident caused by distracted driving in Minnesota, a personal injury attorney could help. They can investigate your case to prove the driver’s liability in the crash. Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving and the Hands-Free Law.
Distracted Driving Defined
Distracted driving means doing anything that takes your attention away from the road. Driving while distracted increases the chances of a car accident.
There are three major types of distractions:
- Visual distractions
- Manual distractions
- Cognitive distractions
Visual distractions cause the driver to take their eyes off the road. They are the most common kind of distraction linked to distracted driving-related accidents.
Manual distractions make drivers turn their attention away from the steering wheel. These distractions often cause the car to veer off the road. They also affect the driver’s reaction time to dangerous situations. Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mind off driving.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, accidents caused by distracted driving result in about 41 deaths each year. It also causes around 200 life-altering injuries per year.
Causes of Distracted Driving
While the causes of distracted driving fall under the three categories mentioned above, it’s easier to understand real-world examples.
Let’s explore some common on-road scenarios.
Calling and Texting
Texting and calling people on the phone are common causes of distracted driving. Texting covers all three types of distractions. It takes the driver’s eyes, hands, and mind off driving. Accidents caused by distracted driving may result in head trauma, broken bones, organ damage, and death.
Many people struggle with keeping their hands off their cell phones while driving. To curb this, drivers should place their phones in a place that’s out of sight yet easy to reach in case of an emergency. You can also place your phone on the do not disturb setting while driving to avoid the temptation.
Sometimes, people don’t have enough time to groom themselves before leaving. So, they decide to finish things up in the car.
Applying makeup, combing hair, and grooming in general while driving is dangerous. All these activities cause visual and manual distractions. Thus, they can easily lead to accidents.
Adjusting Navigation, Controls, or Music
A driver may need to adjust the temperature in the car or the navigation. They may also want to turn on the music or quiet it down. Doing either of these things may seem as simple as pushing a button, but they take the driver’s attention off the road and increase the risk of a car accident.
Talking to Passengers
It may feel rude to drive with a passenger without talking to them. However, drivers should understand that focusing on the road comes first. Turning to look at a passenger while talking to them can be disastrous. In a split second, an accident might happen and result in lifelong damage.
Dealing With Children
Having children in the car while driving can turn chaotic fast. They may start crying or yelling, or they may get into a fight. With such a commotion, it is easy for someone to reflexively turn and try to quiet things down.
Handling children while driving is risky. It pulls a driver’s attention off the road. When driving with children, find things to occupy them so you can focus on driving.
Eating and Drinking
Getting a meal to eat while on the road might sound like a good idea, especially when running late, but it can have severe consequences.
The driver will need to take their hands and eyes off the road to eat or drink. Doing so constitutes reckless driving. It is better to eat or drink after reaching your destination or while safely parked.
Zoning out while driving is surprisingly common and extremely dangerous. It makes drivers unaware of their surroundings. Thus the driver can easily collide with another car or hit someone, causing severe injuries.
The Minnesota Hands-Free Law
The Minnesota Hands-Free Law came into effect in August 2019. The law lets drivers use their phones for calling, texting, music, and navigation but only via voice command or single-touch activation. Drivers aren’t allowed to hold their phones in their hands under the law.
Other things that the Minnesota Hands-Free Law prohibits include but are not limited to:
- Video calling and live streaming
- Looking at pictures and videos on the phone
You can only hold your phone to get emergency assistance. People in an authorized emergency vehicle can do the same while doing official tasks.
Contact Mottaz Sisk Today
The Minnesota Hands-Free Law makes driving while holding a phone illegal.
If someone hits you while using their phone, you can hold them liable. You can recover compensation for the damages or injury you suffered from an accident caused by distracted driving. That includes medical costs, loss of income, property damage, and more.
Contact Mottaz Sisk Injury Law today for help with financial recovery.