young businesswoman driving a car and using phonePicture this: It’s a Monday morning, you’re already running late for work, so you pour your coffee into a to-go mug, thinking, ‘I’ll just drink it on my drive in.” While balancing your bag in one hand and your precious coffee in the other, you fumble for your keys to unlock the car door.

You finally manage to sit down and start the ignition – you’re on your way to work. When you glace at the clock you notice you’re going to be significantly late, so you decide to text your boss to give him a heads up. In the five seconds it takes to look down at your phone, you find yourself face to face with an oncoming vehicle.

Five seconds is all it takes.

Despite the advanced technology options that we have come to know and love, such as talk-to-text features on most smartphones, using these features behind the wheel still significantly increases your risk of an auto accident. In a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “hand- and eye-free use of Apple’s Siri generated a relatively high category 4 level of mental distraction.”

Many of us are guilty of distracted driving – whether it be eating, texting, or changing our Pandora radio station. We should know better. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and many organizations have taken the opportunity to educate their consumers with information and tips to prevent distracted driving. Toyota has even implemented a driving and safety campaign, TeenDrive365, which is designed for teenagers and parents of teens.

Although Toyota has been working hard to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving to drivers of all ages, its TeenDrive365 campaign focuses on the age group with the strongest temptation to disregard the law. Drivers under the age of 20 comprise the age group with the highest number of distracted drivers, with 16% of drivers involved in fatal car accidents having been reported to be distracted while driving.

Their campaign involves a distracted driving simulator using virtual reality technology. While sitting in a real, full-size Toyota vehicle, participants are asked to put on an Oculus Rift headset, which then shows them virtually in the car, driving down a street. As time goes on, the driver is able to experience a variety of distractions – the radio is on, friends are in the car, and the familiar sound of a cell phone ringing – not too far from our own real-life experiences while driving.

Initiatives, such as the one by Toyota, play a key role in educating drivers of the dangers of distracted driving, without having to learn them the hard way. I encourage you to help spread awareness, not only during the month of April, but every day by taking the National Safety Council’s pledge to drive cell-free. To learn more about distracted driving and its deadly consequences, please visit http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-awareness-month.aspx.

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At The Pottenger Law Firm LLC, our Kansas City personal injury lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims. We understand the unique challenges faced by individuals who have suffered a serious injury because of someone else’s negligence. We know the costs—financial, physical, and emotional—that victims and their families are left facing.

You and your family should not be held responsible for the considerable expenses associated with medical care, lost wages, and more. Our compassionate and experienced Kansas City personal injury attorneys may be able to help you get the financial compensation you deserve. To discuss your case with us in more detail, contact us today for a free consultation by calling 816-531-6006.