For many years now, distracted driving has been a hot topic of conversation as it is the number one cause of fatal car accidents in the United States. Between having so much on our minds and the need to feel connected, distracted driving has become an increasingly problematic and devastating issue. We all know cellphone usage while operating a motor vehicle is considered to be one of the major contributing factors to distracted driving, but what else is considered to be distracted driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that interferes with a driver’s ability to focus on driving. While there are countless things that can distract one while operating a motor vehicle, they are categorized into four types of distractions.
A visual distraction is anything that causes the driver to take their eyes off the road, lasting an estimated average of 4.6 seconds. Here are some examples of visual distractions that many drivers encounter:
● Cellphone usage
● Checking GPS or navigation
● Adjusting the radio or AC/heat controls
● Looking for something in your passenger or back seat
● Applying makeup
● Looking at a billboard or rubbernecking
Noises and sounds inside or outside the car that cause you to look away from the road, are considered auditory distractions. Here are just a few types of auditory distractions you may experience behind the wheel:
● Listening to music at a high volume
● Conversation with passengers or on the phone
● Text notifications or ringtones
● Crying or upset children in the backseat
A manual distraction is something that causes the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel while the vehicle is in motion, resulting in delayed response times. Here are some examples of manual distractions while driving:
● Eating or drinking
● Applying makeup
● Smoking cigarettes
Cognitive distractions occur when there is something that causes the driver to lose focus and take their mind off of the road. Types of cognitive distractions include:
● Listening to music or podcasts
● Talking to passengers in the car
● Driving while stressed, anxious or tired
● Texting or using your cellphone
The Dangers of Texting and Driving
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things that you can do while driving, as it involves 3 of the 4 types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. About 400 fatal car crashes per year happen as a direct result of texting and driving, with drivers under the age of 25 being much more likely to text while operating a motor vehicle.
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) says that it takes about 5 seconds to read a text. During that time, you can drive about 360 feet if traveling at a speed of 55 MPH. The issue does not just lie in the amount of time and distance traveled while reading a text, but also in the additional time it takes for the driver to reorient themselves after looking away from their phones.
What To Do If You’re Involved In A Distracted Driving Accident
If you have been injured by a suspected distracted driver, be sure to take the following steps as you would in any other motor vehicle accident:
● File a police report
● Gather witness information and take photos
● Seek medical attention
● Call a trusted personal injury attorney
Although proving the other driver acted negligently by the means of distracted driving, an experienced attorney will be able to help prove their negligence if:
● The driver admits to driving distracted
● There are witness statements and a police report
● Cellphone records can prove the claim
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