Distracted driving has caused the number of car accidents to spike. In the age of smartphones, self-driving cars, and other technology, drivers are more likely than ever to reduce their attention while driving. The impact on road safety is too great to ignore. Being a responsible motorist means staying educated about distracted driving.
With the increased chances of motor vehicle crashes, personal injury, and traffic offenses, knowing a qualified car accident attorney can be a good idea. With their experience dealing with all sorts of car accident cases, they can help people who have encountered distracted driving incidents. Contact them today to hear what legal options may be available for your case.
Distracted Driving Defined
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of operating a vehicle. Distractions today are different, as they’ve changed due to significant technological advances. Texting, chatting, navigation systems, eating and drinking, grooming, and engaging passengers while driving are more prevalent than ever. All of these activities can significantly impair a driver’s ability to handle a vehicle safely.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Hard data related to distracted driving and car accidents reveals the stark realities of the problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,142 fatalities on United States roadways in 2019.
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver every day in the United States. These numbers indicate the urgent need to address this growing problem.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can be grouped into visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. A little about each:
- Visual distractions involve taking one’s eyes off the road, such as looking at a mobile device or reading a text message
- Manual distractions occur when a driver removes their hands from the steering wheel, such as when reaching for an object or operating a handheld device
- Cognitive distractions occur when a driver’s mind wanders from the task of driving, such as daydreaming or being preoccupied with personal issues
All three forms pose significant risks and increase the likelihood of a car accident. The risk compounds when two types of distracted driving happen simultaneously or within moments of each other.
Distracted Driving’s Impact on Car Accidents
Distracted driving directly and profoundly impacts the frequency and severity of car accidents. When drivers’ attention diverts from the road, their reaction time suffers significantly; road hazards, traffic conditions, or other vehicles become harder to avoid. This delayed reaction time increases the likelihood of collisions and reduces the driver’s ability to prevent accidents.
Texting while driving is a notoriously dangerous activity that has garnered much attention. Reading or sending a text message requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, making it one of the most hazardous distractions on the road. Research shows that texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by up to 23 times.
Distracted Driving Prevention
Addressing the issue of distracted driving requires a comprehensive approach. Education, legislation, and personal responsibility must all be involved. Public awareness campaigns can educate drivers about the dangers of distractions and promote responsible driving habits.
Many countries and states have implemented laws that prohibit certain activities while driving. These prohibitions target actions such as texting or using handheld devices while driving. Strict enforcement of these laws can act as a deterrent and promote compliance.
Ironically, technological advancements also offer potential solutions to combat distracted driving. Automakers have boosted efforts to develop features like hands-free calling, voice-activated controls, and collision warning systems. The most promising developments are the development of applications that block incoming calls and texts while driving.
A Distracted Driving Attorney Can Offer Assistance
The rise of distracted driving poses a significant threat to road safety, contributing to an alarming increase in tragic motor vehicle incidents. As these threats become more common, so too does being prepared in the legal arena.
Establishing a relationship with a car accident attorney before or during one of these instances can help. A distracted driving legal specialist can help determine fault, represent your claim in settlement negotiations, and provide legal assistance if you need to go to trial.