Do you like to listen to music while you drive? What about chow down on some lunch while you’re rushing back to the office? Do you pick up the phone and answer that text message your friend sent you while you’re stopped at a red light? These activities all have something in common: they’re some of the most common forms of distracted driving. Distractions are anything that take your attention away from the road in front of you and cause you to lose focus.
The number of ways a driver can become distracted these days is nearly limitless, as new distractions seem to emerge every day. Between our lives growing increasingly busy, roadside features becoming increasingly effective at grabbing attention, and in-car “convenience” features making it possible to do everything from talk on the phone to check social media, today’s drivers have perhaps never been more distracted than they are today.
TYPES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING
There are three general types of distraction: cognitive, visual, and manual. Cognitive distractions are anything that takes your mind away from the road ahead of you. This can include thinking about what’s going on at work or talking to a passenger. Fatigued driving is often a form of cognitive distraction because fatigue causes you to lose or experience reduced focus on the road ahead of you.
Visual distractions are anything that actually take your eyes off the road for a split second. This can include even general driving habits such as checking mirrors or your speedometer, but most distractions are for less practical purposes. Some common visual distractions include roadside advertisements or billboards, reading a message that is shown to you, or even watching a video on a mobile device. Visual distractions are immensely more dangerous than cognitive distractions since they actually prevent you from being able to see the road in front of you, which only needs a moment to change dramatically.
Manual distractions are things which actually cause you to take one or both of your hands off of the steering wheel. This can include adjusting the radio, moving your seat, handing something to a passenger, and other simple tasks, but the largest-growing distraction often involves the use of cell phones, such as reading and sending text messages and emails, as well as other things you can do on your smart phone. However, some of the more creative manual distractions involves eating while driving or even putting on makeup or shaving!
CONSEQUENCES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING
Distracted driving is no small threat. In the year 2015 alone, nearly 3,500 people were killed as a result of accidents in which distracted drivers were involved, and 391,000 more were injured. This has led lawmakers to crack down on distracted drivers, passing laws to restrict or prohibit distracting behaviors such as cell phone use. However, the NHTSA estimates that 660,000 drivers use their cell phone while driving during daylight hours each day. That means the risk of being involved in an accident and sustaining an injury is alarmingly high, and it’s still continuing to grow. Teens and young people are the most vulnerable group when it comes to the injury risk caused by distracted driving, so it’s important to educate them early on about the dangers involved with texting and driving. Enforce rules that strictly forbid this practice as well as talking on the phone, even with the use of a hands-free device.
Parents should also make sure to lead by example. First, never drive distracted, which means keep the phone put away while behind the wheel. This also means avoid other distractions to the best of your ability, including waiting until you’ve come to a stop to adjust the radio, and never taking your eyes off the road in front of you except to check your mirrors or gauges.
If you have been hurt in an accident involving a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Tulsa car accident attorney and seek assistance defending your rights. Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC has helped numerous clients successfully navigate their case and get the compensation they deserve over the years, recovering more than $500 million in benefits and damages. We always use every available resource to help strengthen your case, and we aren’t afraid to go as far as we need to in order to get the settlement or verdict you deserve. We also believe our clients shouldn’t have anything to lose by hiring us, and we back that up by not collecting any fees unless we win your case!
Contact Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC today by dialing 918-492-7674 for a case evaluation.