In light of the storm of technology that is fueling our insatiable appetite for instant connection with each other and the world, DWD – Driving While Distracted, is the new DWI with lethal consequences. The largest culprit in the distracted driving epidemic is cell phone use and texting (including e-mailing) while driving. In 2010, the National Safety Council estimated that 28% of all accidents and fatalities on U.S. highways were caused by drivers using cell phones.
Todd’s passion for these cases began when he was hired after a thirty-year-old wife and mother of two children and her eighty-two-year-old grandmother were killed when their stopped vehicle was hit at highway speed by a commercial driver who never saw them or even tried to stop. In the aftermath of the wreck, the driver told an EMS worker that he was texting before the wreck. His employer had no written policies preventing texting and cell phone use while driving. In connection with his handling of this case, Todd hired and deposed the leading national experts in this field enabling him to develop an expertise on the scientific basis of the dangers presented by cell phone use and texting while driving and the appropriate corporate response to this problem.
Todd has become a recognized safety advocate and expert on the dangers of texting while driving and is a sought-after media interview source in this area. An example of his advocacy is found at: http://zoomsafer.com. He is involved with FocusDriven (a national victims safety advocates association for distracted driving that is similar to MADD) and the National Safety Council in the area of corporate education and has become a national speaker advocating cell phone and texting safety. Todd recently spoke at the Texas Distracted Driving Summit on a program featuring U.S. Secretary of Transportation and was the featured speaker on a National Safety Council heavily publicized and well attended webinar.
Cell phone use and texting while driving causes drivers to suffer from impaired visual scanning, inattention blindness, impaired ability to react appropriately and impaired situational awareness. Studies have shown cell phone usage – dialing, answering and talking – has the same risk of a crash as driving while intoxicated at the legal level of .08, approximately 4 times that of normal driving. Surprising to many, this risk is present whether the driver is using a hand-held device or is hands-free because of the cognitive distraction present.
Texting while driving necessarily involves visual, manual and cognitive distractions and is even worse. Studies show texting while driving increases risk of a crash 8 to 163 times as compared to normal driving. While many legislatures have passed laws prohibiting drivers from texting, studies show many drivers, particularly young people, still text while driving despite common knowledge of its dangers.
Todd’s goal is to encourage meaningful change and to hold drivers and their employers responsible for the harm to innocent victims caused by cell phone use and texting while driving.
If you or a family member were harmed by a driver using a cell phone or texting, please contact us today.