It's April, which means it's time to dust off the old baseball mitt, put away those winter clothes (all apologies to those still shoveling snow), and enjoy the lengthening days of spring. But while April signals a shift away from the winter doldrums, it's also a time to reflect on three particularly challenging and/or distressing topics: autism, distracted driving, and sexual assault. Besides sharing the same month of awarenss, these otherwise unrelated things can potentially impact each one of us.
Here are a few resources we'd like to highlight:
An estimated 1 out of every 68 children is born with some form of autism, a developmental disability that primarily affects an individual's ability to interact and communicate with others. An estimated 1 million to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder (including Asperger's syndrome), but it's not always detectable to others. Autism has been credited with high achievement in science- and technology-related fields and high intelligence in general, but also can put immeasurable strain on a family.
Just about anything can distract a driver, whether it's a burrito or a smartphone. But the prevalance of text messaging and other tasks performed on tiny screens has exponentially increased the level of distraction on today's highways. There were 3,328 deaths and an estimated 421,000 injuries blamed on distraction-affected car crashes in 2012, and drivers in their 20s make up an estimated 27 percent of distracted drivers in fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Read our post on Top 10 Tips for Distracted Driving Awareness Month in FindLaw's Injured blog for some interesting facts and figures. See Distracted Driving and Texting While Driving in FindLaw.com's Learn About the Law section to get up to speed.
While the specifics vary by state, sexual assault generally refers to unwanted and offensive sexual touching, ranging from groping to attempted rape. Sadly, an average of one in four women has survived sexual assault or rape (including attempted rape), according to numerous studies and surveys. But men also are victims of this heinous crime, comprising 10 percent of all U.S. victims. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE if you or a loved one have been sexually assaulted or raped.
So this April, let's work together to bring more awareness to these important legal issues and to make this a better world. But don't forget to stop and smell the spring flowers.