Distraction

Like most folks who read this blog, I have extremely busy days. Yesterday, I got up at 5am - per usual -completed my morning routine, and launched out the door. The game plan was to complete an annual client review with a top client, review a proposal with the CFO of a large precision machining company, and then cold call until the day was over.

When I got home, I asked Anna if she would like fish or chicken for dinner. She said chicken and I carried on with what I was doing. Not more than 5 minutes later, I asked her again what she would like for dinner. She shook her head and I realized that I had done it again.

Forgetfulness, distraction, and living life without intention has taken hold of me and so many others and it is eating away out our lives without us even realizing it. This week, I was on the phone with one of my clients who pays my company over half a million dollars a year to insure his business. He was frustrated by not being able to find his phone. “Bill – you’re on the phone with me right now.”

These stories are harmless, but our addiction to distraction and lack of focus has become a real problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that every day over 67% of drivers are driving while using electronic devices. On average, since the introduction of cell phones, over 3000 lives per year are taken due to distracted driving.

At this level, I view the distracted driving problem as an epidemic and something we need to come together to stop. Individually, we need to commit to labeling the car a phone free zone and not use it while driving. Companies need to step up as well. Phones manufactured by Apple, Samsung, and Google all have the ability right now to sense when you are driving at a certain speed and they could trigger them to be inactive when you reach a certain speed.

Trust me, these devices manufacturers know the amount of death and destruction that is the result of someone using their devices, and the fact that they refuse to do anything pisses me off. These companies can literally flip a switch and save over 2000 lives per year and prevent over 200,000 injuries. Yet, they refuse to. They are too busy sitting on one of history’s largest piles of money ever.

Someone told me over the Thanksgiving holiday that this argument sounds like the argument for gun control. It’s not. The American society has a whole is addicted and we have the power to prevent the drug from being used while we do the most dangerous thing we do in our lives. Let’s compare it more to drinking and driving. You can’t prevent people from being alcoholics, but if you had a guaranteed way to prevent all alcoholics from driving drunk, would you do it?

On October 18th 2017 my fiancé Anna was in a major car accident that left her with a crushed right foot, broken sternum, a concussion, and scrapes and bruises all over her body. That afternoon Anna left a doctor’s appointment in Gastonia and was on her way to our apartment in Hickory when a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction as her attempted to cross in front of her at an intersection. The 1996 Toyota pickup failed to yield on their left hand turn and pulled directly out in front of Anna causing her to T-bone their truck at 45 miles per hour.

The police report stated that the driver of the other vehicle was distracted and placed 100% of the responsibility for the accident on that driver. In this case, the owner of the vehicle was in the passenger seat and his girlfriend was driving. Since auto insurance follows the vehicle not the driver, his insurance carrier is responsible for the property damage to Anna’s vehicle and her bodily injury claims – up to the limits that he had purchased, which in his case was $50,000 for property damage and $100,000 for Bodily Injury per accident.

Anna’s car – a 2008 Toyota Prius – was totaled and only valued at $6800. Since this is well under their property damage auto liability limit of $50,000, we had no issued getting this settled. The way this played out was pretty straight forward. Anna’s auto carrier is Erie Insurance. She was issued a check for $5000 immediately from Erie, and was told that she would get the balance of $1800 minus her deductible after she released the vehicle to the salvage yard. Even though she was not at fault, Erie was required to withhold the deductible amount until they subrogated against the at fault carrier (State Farm) to get reimbursed for the total amount. At that point Anna would get her remaining $500.

 

The major issue that we are dealing with is the bodily injury side of this claim. The bodily injury limit includes the cost of any medical procedures, treatments, medications, or physical therapy stemming from the accident, as well as any lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. With Anna being out of work for nearly 3 months and major medical bills piling up, she was beginning to realize that the at fault driver’s limit of $100,000 for bodily injury liability was not going to even come close to what she needed to be made whole. When this is the case, her Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) limits come into play to offer additional protection.

Aaron Peacock

Aaron Peacock

Hi, I'm Aaron and I'm a marketing representative for Federated Mutual Insurance Company - a Ward's Top 50 and an A.M. BEST A+ Superior rated insurance carrier. After my wife was severely injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, I've found one of my passions in life is to help educate people about the Danger of Distracted Driving and have started speaking to businesses in Western North Carolina on implementing the Federated Insurance DriveS.A.F.E. program. Click here to read more...

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