1st person view behind steering wheel of distracted driving using a cell phone
Drew Palcsik Esq.

Drew Palcsik Esq.

Personal injury & accident lawyer with offices located in Middlebury, VT and Plattsburgh, NY

Distracted Driving: All You Need To Know

person holding a cell phone with the text "it can wait" on the phone

Distracted Driving Accidents: All You Need To Know

Did you know that the cause of 25% of accidents is distracted driving? That’s a considerable number of people we are talking about that die annually due to  accidents caused by not focusing on the primary task of driving. If you are not shocked by the above figure, let us make you familiar with another statistic. In the US, about nine people reportedly die daily due to crashes that are known to involve a distracted driver. Many people try to drive their car while using their cellphone. Ultimately, results in them causing an accident because they were driving distracted. We want to make you aware of how fatal distracted driving can be and how you can identify and avoid distracted and multitasking behaviors.

Today’s blog will cover the following topics:

The definition of distracted driving

The three types of driving distractions

How many people are injured from distracted driving

Tips to prevent distracted driving 

What’s Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is the leading cause of thousands of accidents every year. Driving while distracted is any activity that takes your hands off the wheel and your mind off of driving.  Multi-tasking style behaviors put the passengers within the vehicle at risk as well as other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

There are three categories of distracted driving; they are:

  • Visual
  • Manual
  • Cognitive

The three categories of driving distractions

Manual Distraction

Manual distractions are activities while driving your vehicle, such as eating, drink, or looking at your GPS.

Visual Distraction

Visual distractions are activities similar to taking out your smartphone to check Google Maps to confirm the direction or text, someone.

Cognitive Distraction

Cognitive distractions are activities such as arguing with a friend, driving tired, or having a conversation on speakerphone. While your hands may be on the wheel and your eyes looking at the road, your primary focus isn’t driving.

Some distractions such as using your cell phone can combine different types of distraction at the same time. For example, you need to hold the phone, so it qualifies as a manual distraction. You open your phone to read a text message, your eyes are off the road so it is a visual distraction. To respond to the text you must think and type out your response which presents a cognitive distraction. 

The annual impact of distracted driving cannot be overlooked. Thousands of people die each year, let’s talk about damage caused by distracted driving each year.

Infographic with visual distraction in red, physical distractions in yellow, and cognitive distractions in green

Distracted Driving Statistics

  • Everyday in the United States, roughly nine people die and another 1,000 are injured by distracted driving everyday. Distracted driving was the reported cause of death of 3,450 people in 2016 and 3,166 deaths in 2017. 
  • In 2015 the number increased to 3,210. 
  • In 2015 reportedly involved 391,000 injuries due to distracted driving.
  • In the year 2014, the 3,157 died as a result of driving while distracted. 
  • Car crashes are known to be the #1 cause of the death of teenagers in the US.
  • The age group of 18-29 are at the highest risk of being in a motor vehicle accident because of distraction.

    It is your responsibility as the driver or passenger in the vehicle to prevent distracted driving. Here are some common ways many people drive distracted and how to avoid them.
woman driving vehicle eating a cheeseburger

Prevention Tips For Distracted Driving

Avoid Eating While Driving Your Vehicle

Make a habit of eating your meal before or after driving your vehicle. Eating while driving is a form of manual distraction, and it can cause you to take one or both hands off the wheel. You should always avoid having a bite or drinking while driving. You will want to avoid beverages like coffee or other hot drinks. Spills of hot liquid on the driver from poorly secured hot beverage lids cause a surprisingly large number of crashes.

Use Smartphone Only In Case Of Emergencies

Don’t ever use smartphones for texting or any other kind of activity while driving your vehicle. You shouldn’t even use them at stop signs and stop lights either. Whenever you look at the bright screen on your phone, your field of vision narrows. You may not realize the change, but you can no longer see all the obstacles around you. Hence, it’s advised to only use smartphones only in case of emergencies only. If you need to make an emergency call or text, pull over safely, place the call or text, then return to the roadway.

Leave extra time to get to your location.

Many times people drive distracted because they are in a hurry and don’t feel that they have time to pull over. If you build in just five minutes extra, you can pull over to adjust the GPS without being a danger to yourself or others.

Don’t Drive While Being Drowsy.

37% of all drivers have admitted to being tired and falling asleep while driving their vehicle. If drivers don’t pull over to take a rest, it can lead to major crashes. If you are feeling drowsy, you should pull over your vehicle in a safe location and get some rest. It may delay how long it takes to get to your destination, but at least you will make it there.

man in drivers seat sleeping behind the wheel

Acknowledge your distractions

Many of us like to think we are good at multi-tasking. Scientists have found that there is no such thing as multi-tasking, but instead, we are task switching. We lose cognitive ability each time we switch between tasks. If you are trying to multi-task while behind the wheel, you first need to acknowledge your bad behavior, and are making a commitment to change.

 

Conclusion

Now that we have successfully covered the various ways you can become distracted while operating a motor vehicle. It’s time for us to follow the precautionary measures and avoid such kinds of accidents. You have one life, don’t let it fade away as a result of your carelessness. Talk to your friends and family too, and if you see something, say something.

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The CDC estimates that 9 Americans die everyday because of distracted driving. Here are our tips keep you safe and distraction free while your behind the wheel.

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