Happy Michigan Social Media Day!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube - These are just a few of the popular social media platforms being accessed by billions of people worldwide. According to Statista, there were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017, and that number is projected to grow over the course of the next few years. Statista estimates there will be 2.62 billion users this year, and over 3 billion by 2021. It’s clear that social media is here to stay!

Today, June 30th, is Global Social Media Day! It was officially declared a holiday nine years ago by the website Mashable. In 2012, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined in on the celebration, and released a proclamation to recognize Social Media Day in Michigan. For each of the following years, excluding 2016, the State of Michigan has commemorated this holiday, and according to Michigan.gov, the trend continues for 2018. Per the Michigan.gov Social Media Policy, “The state of Michigan encourages the use of social media, social networking sites and emerging web tools to enhance transparency, communication, customer service, collaboration and information exchange among the State of Michigan and the public.”

While social media is used 365 days of the year, June 30th specifically recognizes and celebrates the positive impact social media has on user’s daily lives. The wide variety of platforms allow for more communication with friends and loved ones, both in Michigan and all over the world. Additionally, social media accounts give residents the opportunity to easily interact with government officials and departments. If Michigan residents have a question, they may get a timely answer if they ask their question via a platform such as Twitter. For example, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack is active on twitter, and regularly replies to tweets.

 

The State of Michigan is very active online, with over 450 accounts amassing over 5 million followers! In 2012, the Center for Digital Government awarded Michigan with an “A” rating, based upon, “social media implantation, ROI, innovation, creativity and collaboration,” according to StateTech. One prominent State of Michigan account, The Michigan Supreme Court (@MISupremeCourt), recently tweeted the news of #SMDayMI. Michigan’s highest court is active on several platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. In April, to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, the Michigan Supreme Court sent out a tweet about Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Michigan Law Firm added to the conversation, and retweeted the Supreme Court’s tweet. Social media allows the Michigan Supreme Court to use their influence to highlight important topics, and help people stay informed.

Social media is not only easy to use and cost effective, but it also provides the latest, up to date information to its followers and the general public. In the case of Michigan’s government departments and agencies, this means Michiganders are informed of everything going in the state, including important information such as laws that are passed, details concerning local events, reminders of the multitude of resources available to residents, as well as closures and construction projects to name a few.

It’s not all serious, however. There is plenty of fun content for followers to enjoy! For example, the Michigan Supreme Court released a tweet two days ago about “Cops and Cones,” an event held recently in Holland Township. The local Sheriff's office treated kids 12 and under with free ice cream! It’s a simple story, but one that spreads positivity and puts a smile on your face!

While social media may have its downfalls, it has undeniably been a powerful tool in the 21st century, leveraged by both the public as well as the government. As stated by Governor Snyder, “The ever-expanding exchange of information allowed by social media is an important factor in our mission to create a more people-focused government.” Social media allows everyone to join in on the conversation and connect like never before. These platforms provide information the public needs to be well informed and create positive change. To celebrate Michigan Social Media Day today, use the hashtag #SMDay and #SMDayMI on your social media platforms!


The warning, “don’t text and drive” cannot be reiterated enough. However, In the age of social media, distracted driving can involve much more than just texting. Popular platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram can be informative and entertaining, but they can also be incredibly distracting when behind the wheel. Distracted drivers put themselves, as well as others on the road, at risk of serious injuries from distracted driving car accidents. Drivers should keep their phones out of sight so their attention can be fully maintained on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC to speak to an experienced car accident attorney. For a free legal consultation, dial 844.4MI.FIRM.

Distracted Driving Kills! Don't Text And Drive!

In 2018, not a day goes by that we don’t use technology. With the cars we drive, the phones we use, the watches on our wrist, technology seems to be in the air we breathe! Add on using the newest filters on Snapchat and Instagram, to sending text messages or answering phone calls, and technology can become extremely dangerous for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 660,000 people are using their cell phones while driving, daily! And, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report from 2015 found that, “there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”

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That is why readers should know that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month! It’s important for drivers everywhere to be reminded about the serious dangers that distracted driving poses, because, the kicker is that all distracted driving car accidents and distracted driving accident fatalities are completely preventable! The National Safety Council (NSC) warns us that, “Each death is 100% preventable. From cell phones to dashboard infotainment systems to evolving voice command features – all pose a threat to our safety. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever.”

Cell phones are the number one suspect that comes to mind when thinking of distracted driving car accidents. In particular texting and driving is a big cause of distracted driving car accidents. In 2015, a survey of Michigan drivers found that 41% of young adults between the ages of 20-30 have admitted to texting and driving on a regular basis! 26% even admitted to texting and driving on a daily basis! Coincidentally, the State of Michigan reported that, “There were 7,516 crashes in Michigan during 2015 involving distracted driving, resulting in 28 fatalities and 3,472 injuries. Cell phones were involved in 753 crashes, with three fatalities and 377 injuries."  

No matter the distracting device however, whether it be cell phones, headphones, or smartwatches, any electronic device can impair driving. It might not seem like a big deal to see if you received a text message or a news update when your phone pings, after all, you’re just seeing what type of notification it is and don’t plan to read the text or the news blurb. However, engaging in such a seemingly harmless distraction while driving can lead to a car crash. In fact, the NHTSA says that looking down at a phone for five seconds driving at 55mph is like driving the length of a football field, blindfolded!

Unfortunately distracted driving isn’t just caused by using electronic devices. Changing the radio station because Nickelback is playing, driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand carrying a Big Mac to your mouth, or quickly reaching over to pick up Elmo after your kid dropped him, can all be distracted driving actions that can lead to serious car accidents. While these types of distracted driving habits have always existed, distracted driving has evolved in the age of social media. It’s not just about calling or texting someone while driving, but about applying the cutest camera filter for a behind-the-wheel selfie, or even checking Twitter to see what’s trending, or going on Facebook to see how many likes a post has gotten. 

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The number of distracted driving car accidents and distracted driving fatalities are scary enough to make people want to throw their phone out of a car window, but that’s not practical. Our society can no longer function without the easy communication and quick internet access cell phones provide us. Many people even see cell phones as an extension of their body, like another limb even. Therefore, it’s unreasonable to tell people to leave their phones at home when they plan to drive. Rather than facing that horrifying ultimatum, the public should be made aware of less drastic ways to prevent distracted driving. For example, some tech companies have invented apps, and even programs in their operating systems to prevent distracted driving car accidents. As previously reported by The Michigan Law Firm, PC, apps like Groove, and phone lock out programs like Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving mode, help prevent distracted driving car accidents.

Some organizations like AT&T have launched sponsorships like the It Can Wait pledge, to end distracted driving. With over 24 million pledges to stop distracted driving, It Can Wait has become one of the most popular anti-distracted driving organizations. It Can Wait has even created a virtual reality simulator that allows users to experience the dangers of texting and driving and shows how using a cell phone while driving truly impacts ones vision. It Can Wait also wants their users to take the pledge today, to stand up to distracted driving, and to become an activist who says ‘No’ to using a distracting device like a cell phone, to prevent car accidents, and to save lives. The organization, as previously reported by The Michigan Law Firm, also launched their DriveMode application that helps minimize cell phone distractions while driving. 


Distracted driving car crashes happen daily due to texting and driving, eating and driving, taking pictures and driving, and from engaging in any activity that causes drivers to not pay 100% attention to the road. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our experienced accident attorneys offer free consultations to victims of car accidents.

Help! We Can't Stop Texting And Driving

Distracted driving has become a major issue in our world today, especially since more people have smartphones than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each day in the United States, 660,000 drivers use an electronic device while driving. Also, each day, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in automobile crashes reported to have involved a distracted driver, based on statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It should be mentioned that these are just the reported distracted driving car accident cases, and there many be thousands of other cell phone car accidents that occurred without official documentation, because of how difficult it is for authorities to pinpoint a distracted driver. It therefore goes without saying that distracted driving is very dangerous, and with the technological era upon us, it is also on the rise.

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Distracted Driving Statistics

The following statistics, provided by Click On Detroit, help put the dangers of distracted driving into context:

  1. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
  2. When driving 55 miles per hour, five seconds with eyes off the road is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
  3. Distraction is a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes

The texting and driving problem has gotten so big that highways across the country now regularly warn drivers "Don't text and drive," and 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting and driving. If these laws don't deter people from engaging in distracted driving, we hope that drivers will keep these shocking statistics in mind, to help prevent a distracted driving car accident and to minimize the risk of experiencing a life-changing car crash injury on the road.

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However, although we know that talking or texting while driving is an issue, the problem isn't just calling or sending a text message to catch up with your best friend. Drivers with smart phones are now even using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, and YouTube, all while operating a vehicle on busy roads. In a survey sponsored by the National Safety Council that focused on 2,400 drivers of all ages, 74% said they would use Facebook while driving, and 37% said they would use Twitter while behind the wheel, with YouTube (35%) and Instagram (33%) close behind. 

 CNN talked to Jennifer Smith, a mother of two and founder of the advocacy group StopDistractions.org. She lost her own mother in a crash nearly 8 years ago when a 20-year-old who was talking on the phone drove through a stoplight. Since then, Smith has devoted her life to helping other families who have become victims of distracted driving crashes by providing support, lobbying for legislation, and planning public awareness events.  Smith believes that people need to really focus on what's important. "As I'm talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, 'It's Snapchat,'" said Smith, whose daughters were 1 and 13 when their grandmother was killed in Oklahoma City. "It's Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow?...Social networking while driving is not necessary and should not be done by anyone, in any way, who's driving. Period. And somehow we've got to make the whole country understand that."

Also acknowledging the widespread problem of using social media while driving, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council commented, "We know that it's an under-reported issue and it's a lot like impaired driving in that way where people know it's not acceptable to do it, and yet a lot of people still do it anyway." 

The Science Behind Distracted Driving

David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology, told CNN that the constant need to check our phones, even when operating a vehicle, is caused by the “addictive nature of smartphones and how our brain instinctively responds to those pings, which signal an incoming text or social media update.” 

Smartphones are taking over the world. They are affecting our brains and behavior on a daily basis. When we hear the alert of a new message, social media notification, or new email, our brains get a dose of dopamine, which is a chemical that leads to an increase in arousal. “The dopamine reward centers are the same centers that have to do with pleasure from eating, pleasure from sex and procreation, pleasure from drugs and alcohol,” Greenfield said. “This reward circuitry is as old as time and if we didn’t have it, we probably wouldn’t exist as a species.”

Where the trouble arises however, is not the higher level of dopamine, but the shutdown of access to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for most of our judgement and reasoning. “The parts of the brain that say, ‘OK, how important is this text? Is this text worth dying for? Is this text worth killing somebody else for?’” Greenfield said. “The answer, of course, logically, would be ‘no,’ but if you have less access to that part of your brain when you’re in this state, which seems to be the case, then you’re not really using your judgement.” 

Distracted Driving Prevention Apps

Scott Tibbitts, founder of a technology called Groove, believes he can help bring an end to distracted driving. His distracted driving prevention app sends a signal to the driver’s phone service provider, altering it to hold off on all texts and social media notifications while they are driving, and also prevents the driver from posting anything while the car is moving. Tibbitts compares the addiction to texting while driving to having an open bag of potato chips in the car. “I know I shouldn’t be eating potato chips, but just take a deep breath of that barbecue sauce. Well that’s what the ‘bing’ is. The ‘bing’ is “Oh, my gosh this might be the text message from my daughter that says, 'Dad, I need help,'” Tibbitts explained.

Michigan Distracted Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Groove is only one of many distracted driving prevention apps and phone features being developed to minimize distracted driving, like Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving feature and At&T's DriveMode app. It may seem ironic to use technology to stop the usage of electronics while driving, but it actually might make more sense. If people are relying so much on their mobile devices, what better way to spread the word about the risks of distracted driving and to help break bad habits than with the cell phones themselves? 

Every time we look at social media while behind the wheel or text while driving, we get a false sense of security and believe that we will be safe in future attempts. Despina Stavrinos, director of the University of Alabama’s distracted driving research lab, says it’s similar to the reinforcement theory. “So you’re driving every day, sending text messages, and nothing happens. So it’s reinforcing to you, ‘Hey, I can do this. I am a pretty good multitasker,’” said Stavrinos. In reality, distracted driving is doing nothing more than putting drivers and passengers at risk for severe injury or death. People are smart enough to develop addictive apps and modern cell phone technology, so they should be more than capable of making the right decision to forget the distractions and focus on the road while driving. 


In many ways, distracted driving can be just as dangerous (if not more so) to drivers and others on the road, than drunk driving. If you truly believe that text messages, Facebook alerts or emails are that important, pull over to the side of the road and complete your business before getting back on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Our firm are highly experienced in dealing with all types of motor vehicle accidents and can help you. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.