Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous habits people have developed over the past decade, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths each year across the United States. One of the worst aspects of it is how commonplace it has become.
Despite anti-cellphone laws here in Massachusetts, our drivers still practice this dangerous behavior. This is because it doesn’t just take laws to prevent serious collisions – it takes drivers who also need to be educated or even re-educated to discourage distracted driving.
The Importance of Distracted Driving Education
Most people in Massachusetts learn to drive through a combination of private lessons with their parents and at public high schools. Public school teachers can be certified by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to teach general driving classes. There are also private driver’s education programs that allow teen drivers to get hands-on experience with an instructor without having to go through their schools.
In recent years, these programs have begun to teach young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, but may stop at explaining that it is illegal and why drivers should avoid it. However, education may need to go much further to ensure teen drivers never develop these dangerous habits. Most drivers know that speeding or drunk driving is illegal, but distracted driving is a learned behavior that most drivers are not even aware that they are doing.
Distracted driving education is also important for older drivers who have not seen the inside of a classroom in years. Most older drivers rely on their years of driving habits and instinct to keep themselves safe on the road. Many fool themselves into thinking they’re experienced enough to multitask, but this is a dangerous myth. A little extra education should never be discounted. Drivers of any age can learn new techniques to keep them safer and understand the harsh consequences of a distracted driving accident.
How Can I Learn More About Distracted Driving?
The Massachusetts RMV has partnered with the National Safety Council (NSC) to sponsor distracted driving classes and other specialized driver’s ed programs. These classes focus on teaching drivers about the different types of distracted driving and how to avoid them. Distracted driving can include more than just texting or making a phone call; it can be eating, grooming, daydreaming, and arguing with passengers. Through these programs, drivers can learn how to identify and prevent dangerous habits.
If a driver violates the state’s cellphone ban two times or more, the RMV can require them to take an online distracted driving course through the NSC, but it is also beneficial for drivers who haven’t violated the law. The course is only $25 and guides users through the dangers of distracted driving, the different types of distractions, and solutions to stop this behavior.
Drivers should also keep an eye on defensive driving programs near them, as they often include lessons on distracted driving. Many insurance companies offer discounts on premiums when a driver completes one of these programs, most of which apply to teen drivers.
Distracted driving simulators are another way to learn firsthand the impact of distracted driving. While some are available online, others tour the country and can be requested for local schools. If you are a parent who is concerned about your teen’s driving habits, this simulator may be an effective way to educate them.
What If I Am Injured by a Distracted Driver?
If you have had the misfortunate of being injured by a distracted driver, reach out to the Boston car accident attorneys at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. We have more than a decade of experience representing clients in auto accident claims and can fight for your right to compensation.
While we would rather try to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, when an accident does occur, we are here to stand up for those who were injured by negligent behavior. To discuss your situation in a free consultation, call our office at (617) 870-0907.