Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving accidents generally include any kind of activity that takes your attention away from the road if you’re behind the wheel. Mobile phone use is one of the most common distracted driving factors. Distracted driving also encompasses other behaviors like adjusting the radio, eating and drinking, or turning around to talk to passengers.
Distracting tasks increase the dangers of distracted driving and can lead to fatalities. If you or someone you love was harmed or killed due to the distracted driving of another, then you may be entitled to damages. One of our car accident attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC can use their experience representing distracted driving victims to represent you in your claim.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving behaviors can lead to motor vehicle traffic crashes. Distracted driving crashes are preventable, and that’s why some states have implemented Distracted Driving Awareness Month to educate drivers on the dangers of texting and driving as well as other distractions. When communities raise awareness to prevent distracted driving, they may save lives.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies types of distracted driving. The first is visual distractions, which include simple tasks like looking at a billboard while driving. Auditory distractions are sounds that cause your attention to shift, like listening to music or conversations with passengers.
The second distraction classification is a manual distraction, which requires the driver to remove a hand from the wheel. Texting and driving is the most common manual distraction. The third distraction is cognitive distractions, which cause drivers’ minds to wander away from the task of driving. Regardless of the type of distraction, they decrease reaction time and lead to more accidents.
Distracted Driving Behaviors
Many behaviors fit into the category of “distracted driving.” Hence, it’s important that you know the difference between a legal distraction and a personal distraction before you get behind the wheel. Here are some of the most common distractive behaviors:
- Applying makeup
- Carrying on a conversation with a passenger
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating and drinking
- Focusing on the rear-view mirror
- Reading a text message
- Speaking on the phone while driving
- Texting and driving
- Turning to face a passenger in the back seat
- Turning to grab items from the back seat
- Using electronics, like a GPS or sound system
Inattentive drivers fail to process information correctly on the road. Younger drivers are particularly prone to distractions as well. The NHTSA reports that 42% of high school students across the United States admitted that they text or email while driving.
Teen drivers who reported texting and driving frequently also proved to be more likely to ride with someone drunk driving, more likely to drive drunk, and less likely to wear a seatbelt.
Distracted Driving Statistics
If you drive distracted, you increase the likelihood of being involved in an incident. Whether using your phone, eating, or talking to passengers, distracted driving is a significant hazard to everyone on the road.
Distractions on the road caused 8.7% of all crash fatalities in 2019. That means 3,142 people died in fatal distracted driving accidents that year. According to the NHTSA, approximately 280,000 others are injured each year due to road distractions.
Distracted driving can be damaging to drivers in a younger age group. For example, 25% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes are between the ages of 20 and 29. That’s why many states are providing additional resources to their citizens. 48 out of 50 states have cell phone bans to help combat distracted driving.
While the effectiveness of text message laws requires further study, high-visibility enforcement (HVE) efforts for distracted driving laws can effectively reduce cell phone use while driving. Every driver’s mind wanders sometimes, but something must be done to prevent the nine people killed in accidents involving inattentive drivers every day.
Risk Factors For Distracted Driving
Let’s imagine a driver is reading their text messages and runs a red light, causing a collision. The victims of that collision are entitled to financial compensation according to personal injury law. When looking through the data surrounding distracted driving, The NHTSA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found the following key risk factors:
There is a popular assumption that teens are the most distracted. However, the data indicates otherwise. Fatal crashes caused by distraction were highest among 20 to 29-year-old drivers, compared to just 9% by drivers aged 15 to 19. 48% of teenage passengers have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1,600 children in this same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.
Research shows that limiting the number of passengers reduces the number of accidents and fatalities. Fatal teen crashes were 21% lower when zero passengers were present and 7% lower when only one passenger was allowed. Teenage drivers increase their risk of losing mental focus and being involved in an accident for each additional passenger.
Drivers are 12.2 times more likely to be in a car accident while dialing a phone. 43% of drivers admit to texting and driving to stay connected with friends and family. According to a CBS survey, 33% of respondents admitted to using a phone while driving. 27% of respondents confessed to texting and driving because they feel there’s an expectation of responding immediately.
Distracted Driving Laws
The National Safety Council (NSC) data finds that 3,142 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2020. Distracted driving diverts a driver’s attention and has many consequences. These consequences include fines, increased insurance premiums and car insurance rates, points against your license, license suspension, and possibly jail time.
Most states ban the use of cell phones but don’t have broader distracted driving bans. 24 states have bans against using handheld devices while driving, 20 totally ban all cell phone use while driving, and 48 ban texting specifically.
However, just because there may not be an explicit ban on eating or applying makeup while driving in your state, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in trouble for it. Police have the power to issue a ticket for dangerous or reckless driving if your behavior constitutes it.
The adept personal injury specialists at Hipskind & McAninch, LLC recommend that you drive safely without distractions. If you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free consultation right away.
Distracted Driver Attorneys Can Help
Many distracted driving deaths are caused by negligent travelers. One of the most distracting activities drivers engage in is talking or texting on a cell phone. Texting while driving for just five seconds at 55 mph is like driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Cognitive distraction is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes. Manual distractions can be detrimental to drivers as well. This can be devastating and lead to a car crash. Texting while driving is just one of the many distractions that can cause car accidents.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact Hipskind & McAninch, LLC because we’ll do everything in our power to build the case that will get you the best outcome.