All over the country, distracted driving is a growing problem and one of the main reasons for some of the most serious accidents on our roads. But what exactly is distracted driving and what all does it encompass? By taking a closer look at distracted driving and the many ways it occurs, as well as how many lives it takes every year, we can get a better idea of how to reduce the likelihood of these accidents once and for all.
How Prevalent is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is all too prevalent in the United States and encompasses anything that diverts your attention from driving. Many people do not understand the severity of this negligent type of driving and just how deadly it can be and the dangers it can pose. Even an act as simple as taking your eyes off of the road for 5 seconds to read a text can be similar to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
The consequences of distracted driving are very real. In fact, in 2016 alone, over 3,450 people lost their lives due to these reckless actions. 391,000 people were injured in these types of accidents in 2015 with the numbers only rising every year. At any given time, over 480,000 drivers are using cell phones while they drive, which puts everyone on the roads at risk.
Three Main Types of Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distracted driving that we see on our roads every day: cognitive, visual, and manual. Here is a quick overview of each one:
Cognitive: These distractions, also known primarily as mental distractions, take place when a driver’s mind is not focused on driving. This can happen when the driver is preoccupied with a variety of other actions that take their mind away from the road such as focusing on conversations with others or those listening to their favorite radio station.
Visual: When a driver is looking at anything other than the road ahead, they are participating in visual distractions. This can happen even in the briefest moments when you have to take your eyes from the roadway such as messing around with the GPS on your vehicle or turning around to answer your child in the backseat.
Manual: Manual distractions occur when a driver removes their hands from the wheel for any reason. This can happen easily when you are eating and drop food or a napkin on the floor, or when you are reaching to adjust your GPS.
One of the reasons why texting and driving are especially dangerous and causes so many accidents is because it is one of the only types of distractions that combines all three types, as you have to remove your mind, hands, and eyes from the act of driving.
Here are some examples of the most common distracted driving acts that occur on our roads every day:
- Smoking: One in a hundred accidents is related to smoking a cigarette or putting it out.
- Moving Objects: 1% of distractions are known to take place because you are moving something in the vehicle, such as moving a pet out of the way.
- Adjusting Radio: Even fiddling with the radio for a few seconds can lead to a serious and life-threatening accident.
- Eating and Drinking: Though every car has cupholders, eating and drinking are the leading causes of serious accidents that take place every year.
- Other Occupants: Other occupants in the vehicle with you might demand your attention away from the road, putting you and them at risk.
- Outside Events: If you see an accident on the side of the road while driving, you’re most likely to look at it. However, gawking at the aftermath of an accident could actually lead to your own.
- Cellphones: 12% of distracted driving accidents take place due to cell phone use, putting them at the second-leading cause of distracted driving fatalities.
- Lost in Thought: Finally, the leading cause of distracted driving accidents is drivers being “lost in thought.” This takes place when a person’s mind wanders too long after a collision, which can easily lead to a serious accident. Stay focused and alert at all times while driving.
Moving Forward with an Injury Claim
Consider that you were driving along and obeying the rules of the road and, suddenly, you are involved in an accident with a driver who was texting and driving at the time. You saw the phone in their hand long enough before they struck you without even looking. If you have been injured due to the negligent actions of a distracted driver, you have a right to a claim. You as the plaintiff are permitted to bring a suit against another party for damages when their actions have led to your accident and can be proven as such.
Texting and driving, as well as other types of distracted driving aspects, are completely forbidden by law in many cases. Texting and driving are specifically seen as a crime in many states due to the fact that these cases have risen over the years. Though the laws are very new that dictate these cases, you could find yourself in the midst of both a criminal and civil case if the accident was severe enough and you as well as others are able to show that the driver was actually participating in these actions at the time of the accident.
With thousands of people losing their lives and being hospitalized each year due to these negligent actions, it is time for a change. Only we can work together and advocate for stronger laws and spread the message that texting, eating, and talking to friends can wait until you are finished driving and can focus once more. At Siegfried & Jensen, our experienced car accident attorneys in Utah are well-versed in the laws that dictate these accidents and your right to recovery. We do not want any of our clients to feel as if they need to stand alone during these difficult times, especially when the medical bills continue to pile up or you are unable to return to work. With experience in many types of personal injury law, we understand your case and want to share your options with you. Contact us for more information today at (801) 441-3635.