Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd.
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Green Bay drunk driving accident injury lawyerOperating a motor vehicle requires a great deal of attention and focus, and drivers are tasked with protecting themselves and others from harm every time they get behind the wheel. Failure to take the proper care when driving can result in car accidents that may injure other drivers or pedestrians. Distracted driving is one of the most common forms of driver negligence that can lead to a collision, and those who have been injured by a driver who was not paying attention to the road should be sure to understand their legal options for recovering compensation for their damages.

Types of Driver Distractions 

Because driving is a commonplace activity for many people, it can be easy for a driver to take some of their attention off the road and focus on something else. However, while “multitasking”  is a skill that can be useful in many aspects of life, it should not be utilized when driving a vehicle. Distractions when behind the wheel can be very dangerous, and they can include one or more of the following:

  • Visual Distractions involving taking one’s eyes off of the road. Examples include talking, texting, playing games, or taking pictures on a cell phone, using a GPS navigation system, looking at passengers in the vehicle, focusing on changing settings on the car’s radio, or fixating on a sight outside the window. 
  • Manual Distractions refer to not having both hands on the wheel in a driving position. Cell phone or radio usage often involves this type of distraction, and smoking, drinking, eating, applying makeup, or any other manual activity can also result in a driver not being in full control of their vehicle.  
  • Cognitive distractions involve a driver not concentrating fully on the act of driving. Instead of focusing on the road, other vehicles, or following traffic laws, a driver may be paying attention to other thoughts or actions. Singing, focusing on a conversation or text message, or even reading a book or magazine could all be forms of cognitive distractions.

Cell phone usage is one of the leading causes of driver distractions. The use of a phone or a similar electronic device often involves all three categories of distraction. While there are laws in place to deter drivers from being distracted by phones or other devices, many people continue to take their attention off the road to make calls, send text messages, or perform other activities. It has been reported that in 2017, 3,166 people were killed in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. This number does not include hit-and-runs, accidents with inconclusive evidence, and unreported cases, so the actual number could be much higher. 

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Wisconsin distracted driving accident lawyersDistracted driving may not be a new issue, but its growth since the development of mobile devices has brought a new awareness to this deadly driving behavior. 

In fact, a recent analysis of 1.4 million copies of police records from Ohio State University determined that almost half of all crashes within the state involved a distracted driver. Although that analysis was conducted in another state, national statistics indicate that distracted driving deaths are a serious problem throughout the entire country. Wisconsin’s distracted driver death rate falls somewhere around 16 percent, according to the most recent data (2014). 

Some say the deaths and accidents are declining, thanks to all the law changes and public announcements, but many scientists disagree. In fact, they worry that the problem is only going to get worse. 

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Green Bay distracted driving accident attorneysDistracted driving causes an estimated nine deaths each day and at least 1,000 injuries, yet drivers continue to use their cell phones while behind the wheel. The car manufacturer, Audi, is trying to combat those statistics with a new type of technology. Learn more about their efforts, discover what rights you may have if a distracted driver injures you or someone you love, and obtain information on how an experienced attorney can assist with your claim in the following sections.

Audi’s Safety Code Script

Audi’s new technology, which they refer to as their “safety code script,” works a lot like the phone applications that developers have made; it automatically detects when the device is moving at a speed that exceeds 20 miles per hour and then asks the individual to confirm whether they are driving. If the phone user does indicate that they are behind the wheel, the safety code will disable their device, preventing them from using it while they are driving.

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Wisconsin distracted driving accident lawyerTraffic deaths have increased sharply, drastically, and quickly over the past half-century. Much of the increase can be traced back to cell phone use behind the wheel. Even more concerning is that the rate continues to rise, despite the numerous campaigns, laws, and initiatives. The problem is not that drivers fail to recognize the risk. In fact, studies reveal that most drivers do know that cell phone use is unsafe. The problem is finding a way to actually deter and disconnect them from their devices. California believes they may have the answer, and if you drive in California, traffic laws in that state apply to you.

No Phones Allowed

While most states (46) have provisions in place that prohibit texting while driving, only 14 have laws that explicitly ban the use of cellphones behind the wheel. California is taking it one step further. They are completely banning even touching or handling a cell phone while driving. You cannot check the time. You cannot pull up your map application. You cannot even hold it in your hand. Period. They hope that it will work to reduce their distracted driving problem. Unfortunately, only time will tell.

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Appleton distracted driver lawyersWhile most states have taken a punishment approach to handling the problem of distracted driving, some app developers have decided a reward approach may be more effective. One in particular, “Down for the Count,” is enticing teens with iTunes gift cards. And, according to an Arizona news report, it seems to be working. Could this be the answer to the distracted driving in America?

About the App

Developed in Arizona, the application seems to be targeting young drivers who may be either unaware or undeterred by local laws. Once they have downloaded the app, they can engage it anytime they are driving to track time behind the wheel. But they have to be fully committed. Once the app is engaged, it cannot be disabled until the car has stopped – not without losing their entire trip. The local news source talked to one teen who admitted that they have been much more diligent about not using their phone since downloading the app. But will the novelty wear off? And is the app for everyone?

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Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. is located in Appleton, Wisconsin, and serves clients in Fox Valley, Outagamie County, Brown County, Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, Sheboygan County, Fond du Lac County, Calumet County, Winnebago County, including Appleton, New London, Clintonville, Neenah, Oshkosh, DePere, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay, Marinette, Neenah, Chilton, Menasha, Shawano, Waupaca, Wausau, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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