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First place winners in the Arrive Alive Creative Contest receive a new laptop computer, second and third-place winners a new iPad, and everyone who enters the contest wins fun prizes from the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein.


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Law Offices of Joe Bornstein

Distracted Drivers

In September 2009, the state of Maine passed a law making it illegal to drive distractedIn June 2011, a new law was passed outlawing texting while driving.

The fine for a single traffic infraction can be as much as $500 with fees and surcharges, but the end result can be much more costly. In 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than 500,000 were injured.

Roughly one-third of the total accidents in Maine are caused by distracted driving.

When texting, drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 out of every 6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, this results in a car traveling the length of a football field, including end zones, without looking at the road. Those who text while driving are 20 times more likely to get in an accident than those who keep their eyes on the road. Those that talk on the phone are 7 times more likely to become a statistic.

Forty-four states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed laws banning texting while driving. Thirteen states, plus the District of Columbia, ban the use of handheld devices while driving. And no matter where in the U.S., truck and bus drivers cannot send or read text messages while driving. It is for good reason that these laws have been written.

In September 2008, a crash between a commuter train and an oncoming freight train killed 25 people in California. Federal investigators found that the conductor who was distracted and ran a red light, sent a text message 22 seconds before the accident occurred.

In May 2009, more than 50 people were injured when a trolley car in Boston crashed while its driver was texting with his girlfriend.

An estimated 80 percent of accidents and 65 percent of near-accidents involve some form of driver distraction occurring within three seconds of the crash. Today, many insurance companies are researching driver phone usage before accidents to help determine liability.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual — taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

Distractions that have been known to cause accidents include:

  • Use of cell phone
  • Use of GPS system
  • Changing the radio
  • Eating
  • Applying make-up
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Reaching for an object in the vehicle
  • Fooling around with friends

At the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, we see firsthand the results of distracted driving accidents. The next time you're behind the wheel, save the distractions for a time when it's safe to do so, such as the side of the road or at your final destination.

It just may save your life.