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.

The Michigan Supreme Court Tweets: Don't Text And Drive

The Michigan Supreme Court recently released a tweet about Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is in April, in order to show their support of this campaign. The dangers of distracted driving are well known, but many people don’t realize the reality of these dangers. Texting and driving, which the Michigan Supreme Court mentioned in the tweet, is a highly publicized distracted driving activity, but isn’t the only one. Any activity which takes a driver’s attention from the road is considered distracted driving and could result in a distracted driving car crash. Logically, people know distracted driving is dangerous, but don’t realize that the dangers of distracted driving apply to them. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking can cause people to not be as careful while driving, and be the cause of a distracted driving car crash.

In one example of how dangerous distracted driving is, The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (MOHSP) recently released a video about Sam Howell, a resident of St. Charles, Michigan, who was an unfortunate victim of a distracted driving car accident back in 2005. In a follow up press release about the video, the MOHSP said that Howell had dropped his cell phone and was trying to pick it up when it rang, when he drove right off the road. Howell suffered severe injuries in his distracted driving car crash and  doctors estimated only a 3% chance of surviving at the time. Following the car accident, Howell was was in a coma for more than two months. Howell’s treating medical providers thought he would never wake up again, let alone be able to walk, talk, or eat, much to his parents’ dismay.

“This is not only his nightmare but our nightmare,” Jim Howell, Sam’s father, said when given the news about his son’s chances of survival in 2005. Maureen Howell, Sam’s mother, added, “Nothing on your phone is worth that.”

However, despite his low chance of surviving the distracted driving car crash, Sam woke up from his coma and began his road to recovery. Now, he can walk unassisted and  advocates for increased awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, by using his own distracted driving car accident as a cautionary tale. “I remember reaching for my cell phone, which had fallen on the passenger floor and was ringing. I grabbed it, sat up, and was airborne off the road,” he said. He encourages people to not do what he did, and to put cell phones away and out of sight, while driving.

Don't text and drive

Distracted driving is a topic that should be spoken more about, especially since according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, about 481,000 people use their cell phones while driving. That is why it’s quite progressive that The Michigan Supreme Court, whose youngest member is 49-years-old  has chosen to embrace social media like Twitter, to spread awareness about the topic. The Michigan Supreme Court didn’t just tweet about distracted driving during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but they used  images and short text to drive home the point. Sure, even dogs have their own Twitter accounts these days, but having the highest federal court in the United States weigh in on a topic, proves how serious and important distracted driving is.

Distracted driving is a dangerous activity that claimed 40,100 lives in 2017, according to The National Safety Council (NSC). Checking a text, Facebook notification, or talking to your friend about how excited you are about Avengers: Infinity War, are all important things to people living in 2018. But, they are things that should be done when not behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Distracted driving is 100% preventable! Any car accident injuries or car crash fatalities caused by a distracted driving accident are therefore also 100% preventable! 


More important and influential  institutions like The Michigan Supreme Court are joining social media in order to keep up with current topics and events. Hopefully, by adding their thoughts to the social media conversation, they will  help spread awareness on important subjects  like distracted driving and help save lives. If you or someone you know is a victim of a distracted driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our attorneys are highly experienced in helping victims of distracted driving car accidents identify and collect any benefits they may be entitled to under Michigan law.

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.

Social Media Car Crash Lawyer

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.

Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

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.