How to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents
Laura Neal: All right, distracted driving, it happens to everyone. Everyone does it, but it's not just about texting. There are many other ways that we put ourselves and others in harm's way because of addictive behavior with our electronic devices. Attorney Chad McLain of Graves McLain is here this morning to talk all about it. Thank you for joining us.
Chad McLain: Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Laura Neal: Sorry I went mute on you for a moment, but this will help out. First off we want to talk about where you guys are. Where is your practice located?
Chad McLain: We're located in the Boulder Towers which is at 15th and Boulder. We've been there since 2004. My practice is myself and my partner. I've practiced with Dan Graves since 2002, and there are three lawyers in our firm.
Laura Neal: All right, so you guys can help people out when they get in trouble for things like distracted driving. So tell us, what are some of the statistics? What are people doing, and how are they getting in trouble with distracted driving?
Chad McLain: Well, with distracted driving the thing to understand is that there are many different descriptions of distracted driving. Texting is probably the biggest culprit because it engages both visual, manual, and your thought process. Things are as simple as reaching over into the floorboard next to you, or talking to your child in the back seat and looking away from the road, all of that is distracted driving. The statistics nationwide are better than they are in Oklahoma, but they're still not good because they largely rely on self-reporting.
Laura Neal: Yes, so as you said, a lot of people aren't going to say what they were doing when they got in a fender bender.
Chad McLain: Probably not as a general rule. They're getting better nationwide, but the thorough statistics have not been being as kept as long as they should have been.
Laura Neal: You said nationwide that it is getting better and that things are happening, but also in other parts of the nation people get reprimanded legally...
Chad McLain: True.
Laura Neal: ...for things like distracted driving. What's going on in Oklahoma?
Chad McLain: There are right now ten or even eleven states that have anti-texting and driving statutes, and they're usually criminal misdemeanor statutes. In Oklahoma, there was a bill proposed in our last legislative session. It didn't get a hearing, and I think that's largely due to public awareness in Oklahoma. I think, at some point in time in the near future, it'll be forced to be pushed through.
Laura Neal: Okay, public awareness is something we've been talking about. You brought up Brookeside. If you see anyone driving down how many people are usually on their phone?
Chad McLain: Well, at any given intersection, particularly on Peoria in Brookeside 80 or 90 percent of the people are looking at their phones as they go through the intersection. As we talked about off-air, it's an addictive behavior. It's something that we've conditioned ourselves as okay, and I think that has to do with the lack of public awareness and how dangerous it is.
Laura Neal: So keeping each other accountable. Also, you mentioned your kids, starting them young and teaching them that it's not okay to have that device in your hand all of the time, especially behind the wheel.
Chad McLain: Exactly, it's become more and more normal. We did talk about the iPhone or the iPad is just almost like a second babysitter, unfortunately. By the time they get to 15 or 16, when they're driving, it's just normal behavior. It's nothing to look away from the road to the electronic device.
Laura Neal: All right, so until we have some rules about it we just need to be self-aware and to be pushing each other to make sure that people are educated on the problems that can happen.
Chad McLain: Exactly.
Laura Neal: Even though we know. We all know that it bad for us, but we keep doing it.
Chad McLain: Well, it's the same old thing as, "Do as I say, not as I do." Statistics as a general rule, especially nationwide, are about other people. They're not about me. Surely that couldn't happen to me. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes something near and dear to your heart to make you understand that it is dangerous.
Laura Neal: Alright, some good awareness, and some good tips. Thank you so much for talking with us this morning.
Chad McLain: Thank you.
Laura Neal: Guys, we want to tell you how you can get a hold of them at Graves McLain. They're in the Boulder Towers. They're at 1437 South Boulder Avenue in Suite 1010. You can give them a call at 918-359-6600. Also, look them up online, gravesmclain.com. They're also on Twitter and Facebook.