Cyber Monday and Distracted Driving

Now that Thanksgiving is past, many of us turn to the next great marker of the holiday season: Christmas shopping. Black Friday kicked off the shopping season last weekend with sales and discounts at many brick-and-mortar retailers. Shoppers happily line up each year to browse the best deals and get a head start on their holiday shopping. For those of us who had a few too many glasses of Cabernet on Thursday, or who are otherwise less inclined to brave the crowds on Black Friday, there is always Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving. The unofficial holiday was invented by retailers soon after the Internet came into wide use and became an engine of e-commerce. Online retailers noticed a surge in online purchases on this Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. The trend implied that people were returning to work and, having possibly missed the boat on Black Friday deals, were spending work time and Internet bandwidth shopping for holiday presents online. [1]

Cyber Monday also appeals to those who may prefer to skip the crowds and risks associated with traditional door buster sales. The large crowds drawn to the best Black Friday sales can sometimes create stampede conditions. In 2013, a Walmart employee was crushed to death by crazed shoppers trying to score a deal on flat screen TVs. Many others have been injured over the years in crowded sales or personal disputes over Black Friday hauls. Cyber Monday gives shoppers a chance to snag great deals without risking the crowds – or maybe even getting out of their pajamas.

However, the Cyber Monday of today is different from that of a decade ago. In the 2000s, workers would wait until they were at their workplace with fast, reliable internet. Then they would hop online and search for great deals at the speed of a decent broadband connection. Today, fast Internet is at our fingertips and in our pockets wherever we go. Cyber Monday doesn’t need to wait until we get to the office. It can begin during breakfast at our laptop, or even on the way to work, by using a mobile device.

While it may be tempting it may be to browse Cyber Monday deals while stuck in traffic, this can result in distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving “is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system – anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” [3] While not specifically mentioned, online shopping would certainly fall under the category of distracted driving activities. If it takes your attention off the road, it should wait until the car is stopped.

According to the NHTSA, 3,450 lives were lost to distracted driving in 2016 alone. The agency estimates that 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving during daylight hours each day. This creates a huge number of opportunities for death and injuries caused by distracted drivers. Teens are the most likely to use a cell phone while driving, but no age group is immune to the temptation. [4] In Nevada, texting, accessing the Internet, and hand-held use of a cell phone while driving have all been against the law since 2011. You may only talk on your cell phone while driving if you are using a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth headset. [5]

If you found yourself injured by a distracted driver on Cyber Monday, make sure to take a few important steps after seeking medical treatment. Obtain a copy of the police report, which may provide crucial information. Contact any witnesses to the accident, and obtain written statements attesting to the fact that the other driver was distracted. Notify the prosecutor of your injuries, because this may impact any plea deal being negotiated by the driver at fault. [6] Finally, make sure you contact an experienced personal injury attorney to walk you through the process and make sure you know your rights.







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