Driving while distracted is a growing problem, according to Southwest Michigan car accident lawyer Barry Conybeare, who today voiced his support for Distracted Driving Awareness Month and called on drivers to pay attention to the road instead of the many behind-the-wheel diversions that can lead to serious crashes.

“We’ve all seen people driving down I-94, on Niles Avenue and in parking lots while talking on their cell phones or – even worse – illegally texting while driving their cars,” said Conybeare, a personal injury attorney with Conybeare Law Office, a firm in St. Joseph, Mich.

“Distractions are everywhere, from changing the radio station, to tending to children in the back seat, to using a mobile device. Drivers must make sure they minimize the distractions and keep their focus on the task at hand to prevent serious car accidents caused by driver inattention,” he said.

Conybeare praised efforts of the National Safety Council (NSC), which has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

“Anything that raises the awareness of this unsafe practice and shows the dangers will also hopefully encourage people to stop engaging in this very risky behavior,” Conybeare said. "Distracted drivers cause accidents that injure and kill the people we love.”

The theme for this year’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month is “What Were You Thinking?” The NSC has made available a packet of materials that organizations and individuals can use to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. The NSC is calling on people to “make the decision to stop using your phone behind the wheel today” and sign a pledge to drive cell-free, sharing their participation with friends and family and through social media.

“The theme for Distracted Driving Awareness Month is quite apt. Many people probably feel guilty about driving while distracted because somewhere inside they know that their actions are dangerous,” Conybeare said.

The NSC estimates almost 25 percent of car crashes involve cell phone use. Drivers engaged in cell phone conversations, whether using handheld or hands-free devices, are cognitively distracted and can fail to see up to 50 percent of their driving environment, according to the NSC. The organization urges motorists to understand the dangers of cognitive distraction while driving and to tell others about the dangers of distracted driving.

The “What Were You Thinking?” campaign includes the pledge, as well as information such as:

An infographic, “The Great Multitasking Lie,” that shows the dangers of cell phone use while driving

A white paper on understanding the distracted brain

An employer cell phone policy kit

State of the National Cell Phone Distracted Driving report

“The National Safety Council has given us a number of very useful resources in the quest to inform people about the dangers of distracted driving and why they should avoid it,” Conybeare said. “Now we need people to take this information, absorb it, share it and make good decisions.”

Conybeare emphasized that a good way to discourage distracted driving is to hold motorists responsible when their negligent inattention causes car accidents. He urged victims of distracted driving accidents to get help from a qualified lawyer such as those at Conybeare Law Office.

“We have experienced attorneys who fully investigate accidents and help hold negligent, distracted drivers responsible for their actions, while helping their victims get the full and fair compensation they deserve,” he said.

Conybeare Law Office, P.C., is the largest full-service, personal injury law firm in Southwest Michigan. Its office is located at 519 Main Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085. The firm represents accident and injury victims throughout Southwest Michigan and takes pride in providing professional yet personalized legal representation to each client in a wide variety of cases. Its practice areas include animal attacks, car accidents, defective products, drunk-driving accidents, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, premises liability and truck accidents, as well as Social Security disability (SSD) and workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more, call Conybeare Law Office toll free at (800) 983-0561 or use the firm’s online contact form.