Car Accident Lawyer
Many people think about cell phones when they think about driving distractions. It is true that many cases of distracted driving involve cell phone use, and as technology becomes more advanced, the devices can become more and more distracting.
However, driving distractions existed long before cell phones existed and coexist alongside them today. Many people engage in distracting behaviors while driving, often without thinking about it, that have nothing to do with cell phones. Nevertheless, different distractions pose similar dangers.
Definition of Distracted Driving
Any behavior performed behind the wheel of a moving vehicle that takes your mind away from the task of driving is a distraction. Additionally, some distractions also remove your eyes from the road and/or your hands from the wheel.
Common distracted driving activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Adjusting instruments inside the vehicle (sound system, climate control, etc.)
- Personal grooming
- Eating and drinking
- Reading maps
- Talking with passengers
- Attending to pets
- Reaching for fallen objects
Cell Phones as Special Distractions
Using an ordinary, handheld cell phone to text while driving represents a particularly dangerous form of distraction because it removes your mind, hands, and eyes from the task of driving all at the same time. In the five seconds it takes to read or send a text, your vehicle can traverse the length of an entire football field when traveling 55 miles per hour.
Hands-free features are purported to make cell phone use safer while driving. However, while it is true that these features eliminate the need to remove your hands from the wheel and eyes from the road while driving, they still represent a mental distraction, which poses a potential threat to you and those around you. For this reason, some communities ban cell phone use of any kind, including hands-free devices, while driving.
Dangers of Distracted Driving
In 2017, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,166 people in the United States. That is approximately one-third the number of people killed in crashes involving drunk driving. Keep in mind, however, that authorities may not be able to determine the role of distraction in crashes that do not result in serious injury or death. Therefore, the number of crashes caused by distracted driving may be much more than the statistics indicate.
Knowing about the dangers of distracted driving can help you to modify your own behaviors in the interest of preventing accidents. If a distracted driver should crash into you, our attorneys may be able to help.