MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. The dangers of distracted driving are sobering. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Some experts say that distracted driving has reached “epidemic” proportions. The Office of Martin T. Montilino see too many cases where human error or driver inexperience coupled with distraction resulted in an accident. Our firm works with families and victims who have been hurt as a result of distracted driving.
In response to the increasing number of people being injured and killed due to distracted driving, Minneapolis police in Dakota County will be cracking down on distracted driving. According to the Pioneer Press, police officers will be increasing their enforcement of distracted driving infractions. Teens will be handed sleeves that can stop incoming calls and messages.
In Minnesota, every year, approximately 350 people are seriously injured and 70 people are killed due to distracted driving. In response to this toll, and in the hope of deterring distracted driving, the fine for a first-time offense is $125, with $350 for subsequent offenses. In April alone, 92 people have been cited for distracted driving in Minneapolis.
Yet, will the increased enforcement, fines, and additional measures actually prevent distracted driving? Despite the fact that most people understand the danger of checking their cell phones while driving, many people still engage in the practice. According to CNN, some experts claim that smartphones are actually addictive. Every time we hear the chime of a text message or email, our brains receive a spike of dopamine, a chemical that stimulates the reward circuits in our brains. The person who has received a text or an email expects a reward—social connection, a like on social media, a share. The draw of the cell phone can be hard to resist. So hard, that even someone who is safety conscious might still be compelled to check the phone.
Interestingly, when the brain is hit with a jolt of dopamine, other important parts of the brain shut down. Dopamine is known to suppress activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain responsible for governing our higher reasoning abilities.
So what are we to do? New technologies on the market claim to be able to shut off your phone while you are behind the wheel. While teens are more at risk of making fatal errors while driving distracted, perhaps teens alone shouldn’t be the only ones getting the protective sleeves that shut down their phones. We are all subject to the effects of dopamine—not just teens. Teens just have the disadvantage of not having much experience behind the wheel.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who works closely with victims and families whose lives have been impacted by distracted driving. Our firm works to raise awareness and seek justice to those whose lives have been altered by another person’s negligence or neglect.
If you couple the negligence of distracted driving with the brute force of a truck, you have a recipe for serious injury and damage. Teddy, Meekins, & Talbert Attorneys At Law may be a law firm you will want to contact in North Carolina if you find yourself the victim of a truck accident.