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Unimportant tasks can lead to Alaska auto accident incidents

Texting, eating and talking on the phone are all commonplace occurrences for most Alaska residents. However, none of these tasks should be happening while a person is driving; after all, the risk of getting into an auto accident increases when the driver isn't paying attention to the road. In fact, distracted driving is a significant factor in many auto accident incidents throughout the state and nation. 

Being distracted while behind the wheel is sometimes illegal, depending upon what the driver is doing. For instance, texting while operating a motor vehicle in Alaska is illegal. This includes taking a quick look at the screen of an iPhone when cruising along the highway. It has also been interpreted to include not using a GPS while driving. Even a momentary lapse in attention can lead to tragedy for the driver, not to mention any potential victims and their families.

Those who do not heed the laws of Alaska are playing roulette every time they drive. Being caught by a state trooper and charged with distracted driving could ultimately land an individual in prison for up to 12 months. In addition, the driver may be compelled to a fine should a conviction result.

Of course, the real shame is in the number of people who are killed or injured every year in an auto accident because another driver decided to put on make-up or look up a social media post while he or she was supposed to be focused on driving.  These are preventable events; unfortunately, they happen with regularity. In cases where distracted driving leads to fatalities or medical treatment, the drivers deemed responsible may face civil ramifications in the form of a personal injury lawsuit apart from any criminal consequences that may apply. This is only fair, especially for those who suffer at the hand of drivers who try to multi-task rather than keep their hands on the wheel and their focus on the pavement.

Source: ktva.com, "Distracted Driving 101: Two hands on the wheel", Jacquie Slater, Feb. 2, 2015

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