Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any non-driving activity while in control of a vehicle. There are three distinct categories of distracted driving:
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
As such, distracted driving encompasses a large number of activities besides cell phone use. The statistics surrounding distracted driving in the US are frightening. A small sample of the most important numbers shows:
- Distracted drivers cause around 2.5 million car crashes every year
- Around 9 people per day are killed in car crashes caused by distracted drivers
- Over 1,000 people per day are injured in crashes involving distracted drivers
Knowing the primary causes of distracted driving accidents can help drivers avoid these behaviors to stay safe on the road.
- Eating while driving: Drivers are 2-3X more likely to have an accident if they try to eat while driving a vehicle.
- Reaching for an object: Whether reaching for sunglasses or changing the radio station, taking your hand and mind off the wheel has repercussions. Research shows it increases your chances of having an accident about 8X.
- Parents with young children in the car: Driving while trying to look after young children is demanding and dangerous. Adults with children in their cars are at greater risk of being distracted than adults traveling with teenage or adult passengers. Parents without small children in their vehicles have a 74% chance of being distracted. The risk rises to 87% if there are children in the car.
- Talking to passengers: Drivers can become distracted when talking to their passengers, particularly if they look away from the road while doing so, and especially inexperienced drivers. A teen driver with one additional passenger is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident as one driving alone.
- Texting and driving: Cell phones are now part of everyday life. However, when a driver tries to text and drive, it can lead to tragic consequences. The NHTSA has shown that a driver reading a text or typing a message will have taken their eyes off the road for a minimum of 5 seconds. If they are traveling at 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with their eyes shut. Once a driver is distracted, it can take as little as 3 seconds for an accident to happen. The statistics surrounding texting and driving are concerning. The NHTSA says that around 660,000 drivers have admitted to using an electronic device while driving. Texting and driving cause 1 out of 4 crashes, and drivers who text are 6X more likely to have an accident than drunk drivers.
- Talking on cell phones: There has been a lot said about the use of hands-free cell phone systems. It has been suggested that these systems make driving while on a cell phone safe. Research at Texas Tech University has debunked this myth. The results show that whether you use your phone hands-free or handheld makes no difference. It is the mental activity of talking on the phone that takes the driver’s mind off the road. Even after ending the call, it takes your brain at least 13 seconds to refocus on driving.
With so many distractions causing drivers to participate in non-driving activities, it is no wonder that the number of fatal car accidents is rising. In 2018, distracted driving was the cause of 8.5% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.
71% of all truck/car accident fatalities occurred as a result of the driver being distracted. Research conducted by NHTSA found that in 2017, 3,166 people were killed in crashes caused by distracted driving.
If you have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, the consequences may be painful and incredibly expensive. You should seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer to secure the compensation you are entitled to by law.
Contact the Louisiana distracted driving crash attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free case review. Speak to one of our skilled lawyers about your legal options and start the journey to recovery.
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