Have you ever been in a car accident? Do you drive distracted more than you should? Have you ever reviewed your driving habits at the end of the day and been thankful nothing bad happened? Or that you didn’t get pulled over for distracted driving?
It is a nightmare for anyone out on the road. It is especially a concern for those who drive as part of their job. For example, on November 30, 2020, a multi-car pile-up happened in northern Genesee County, Michigan.
Reports say the accident was a result from distracted driving. Unfortunately, a 74-year-old man died as a result.
When you aren’t alert as you are driving, you run the risk of going off the road, causing an accident, or, as this story shows, not being able to react to someone else’s poor driving.
Food Delivery Services Increase Distracted Driving
Anyone who has worked for a takeout delivery service like DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats knows that while you are working, you are involved with the delivery app on your smartphone the whole time. The entire time you are driving, the app runs with something vying for your attention – even if it’s just the GPS directions.
In many cases, a new job will pop up on the phone as you drive to the next “hot spot,” and you have only 30 seconds to accept the job, or it will go to another delivery driver. Not many drivers will resist the temptation to look at the job as they drive.
Others will suddenly veer into a parking lot to look at their app in an attempt to avoid reading their phone while driving, causing potential problems for the drivers behind them.
Now, combine that with a sudden spike in takeout orders all over the country because of renewed lockdowns and dangerous winter weather, and you have a recipe for disaster. The internet abounds with legal information for people who get in accidents with food delivery drivers.
Three Distracted Driving Categories
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three main categories of things that distract us while we’re driving. No one is immune to these:
- Visual – Any time you’re looking at something other than the road, whether inside or outside the car. Your phone, road signs, addresses – they’re all part of the job of a food delivery driver.
- Manual – Any time you take your hands from the wheel while driving: tapping your phone, grabbing that food bag so it won’t slide, even holding a snack or smoking increases your risk no matter how practiced you are.
- Cognitive – Any time your mind wanders from the job at hand increases your risk of accidents. If you’re thinking about work problems, listening to GPS directions, or even daydreaming as you drive, you’re less safe.
As you probably realize, many food delivery apps may constitute a distraction from all three of these categories. It may lead to sudden maneuvers that endanger other drivers or keep you from noticing changes on the road that could cause you to hit someone else.
Penalties for Distracted Driving in Michigan
The number of people using their phones while behind the wheel is growing. A recent report states that 33% of drivers age 18-64 are reading or sending texts while driving. Distracted driving leads to 420,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.
You can get in trouble for it if a police officer sees you using your phone while driving. Just for distracted driving in Michigan, you can get fined $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second. If you have a level 1 or level 2 license, you could get fined $240.
However, if you get involved in an accident and cause someone else’s injury or death, you’re looking at possible prison time.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. You could easily find yourself looking at prison time without ever having intended to hurt anyone or do anything illegal.
Driving for a food delivery service is a great way to earn extra money. However, nothing is worth endangering your future. If you are working for one of these services, commit to yourself that you will pull over safely to use your phone and never use it while driving.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for distracted driving, call my office today.