Are YOU a distracted driver? From texting and chatting on the go to changing stations and sipping some Starbucks, distracted driving is something we’ve all been guilty of at some point. Unfortunately, however, this prevalent yet risky behavior contributes to thousands of preventable deaths and injuries on American roadways every year.
Multitasking while driving, despite the risks, is a bad habit for many motorists, especially young drivers. These repeat offenders can develop a false sense of security over time, especially when they don’t face negative consequences for their actions, such as being pulled over or experiencing a close call or fender-bender.
Statistically speaking, even if nothing “bad” has happened yet, there’s always a fair chance that these distractions could result in a tragic and deadly accident.
Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
Distracted driving is extremely hazardous because it diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, significantly increasing the risk of a crash. Whenever a driver focuses on something other than the road, they may not see upcoming hazards, other vehicles, pedestrians, or traffic signals in time to avoid an accident.
Three main types of distractions can affect a motorist:
- Visual distractions, which take the driver’s eyes off the road.
- Manual distractions, which take the driver’s hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive distractions, which take the driver’s mind off driving.
The most common causes of distracted driving (and subsequent accidents) include:
- Texting and talking on the phone.
- Eating and drinking.
- Grooming, such as applying makeup or brushing hair.
- Adjusting the radio, media player, or GPS.
- Reading a map, book, or dashboard monitor.
- Talking to or engaging with passengers.
- Watching videos or browsing social media on a mobile device.
- Daydreaming or being lost in thought.
- Reaching for objects in the car or the backseat.
- “Rubbernecking” or staring at events on the side of the road.
Overall, multitasking while driving is a serious and preventable issue that can have severe consequences for the offending driver, other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. A tragic example is the loss of over 3,500 lives in 2021 from distracted driving-related accidents alone.
The Most Common and Deadly Distraction of Them All
Research shows that texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions. First, it takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds per text, which, at 55 mph, is enough time to cover the length of a football field (Source). Imagine driving 300 feet on the highway with your eyes closed!
What’s more, texting also takes the driver’s hands off the wheel and takes focus away from the road, further heightening the risk of an accident.
In all cases, texting while driving dramatically increases the risk of a collision, which can cause injury or death to the driver, passengers, and others on the road. For instance, studies have shown that texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 times!
Additionally, cell phones are the source of many other accident-causing distractions, such as talking on the phone, using social media, or browsing the internet. And contrary to popular belief, hands-free calling and texting are not risk-free since they can still inhibit a driver’s focus on the road and their surroundings (Source).
Anti-Texting and Driving Campaigns
In a mass effort to address the growing issue of distracted driving-related accidents, especially ones caused by cellphone usage, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched two nationwide campaigns:
- U Drive. U Text. U Pay. (April 3-10, 2023) is a distracted driving enforcement campaign that reminds drivers of “the deadly dangers and the legal consequences – including fines – of texting and other forms of messaging behind the wheel” (Source).
- National Distracted Driving Awareness Month (April) is an annual event dedicated to spreading awareness and education about the dangers of distracted driving. The NHTSA dedicates an entire month to the cause, stating it’s “a good time to regroup and take responsibility for the choices we make when we’re on the road” (Source).
Why Accident Victims Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, seeking legal counsel from a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer like Northland Injury Law is a smart first step. Here are a few reasons why:
- Legal expertise: A personal injury lawyer has expertise in personal injury law and can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can provide legal advice, answer your questions, and help you navigate the legal process.
- Settlement negotiations: An injury lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. They can assess the value of your claim and help you negotiate a settlement that covers your damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Court representation: If your case goes to court, an injury lawyer can represent you and advocate for your rights. They can argue your case before a judge and jury and work to get you the compensation you deserve.
- Evidence gathering: A personal injury lawyer can help gather evidence to support your claim. Evidence can include witness statements, police reports, medical records, and expert testimony.
- Peace of mind: Knowing that you have an experienced injury lawyer on your side can provide you with peace of mind during a stressful and challenging time. They can handle the legal details of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
From start to finish, an injury lawyer like the Northland Injury Law team can help you navigate the legal process and work to get you the compensation you deserve after a distracted driving accident.
Read the following blogs for more helpful legal information:
- 5 Things to Look For in a Personal Injury Attorney
- Car Accident Lawyer: What to Know Before You Call An Attorney
- Personal Lawyer in Kansas City: 4 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
- Distracted Driving and Fatalities on the Rise
Injured in an accident caused by someone else? Our Missouri legal team at Northland Injury Law is here to help! Text “HURT” to 22222 or call 816-327-7627 today for a FREE personal injury consultation with our top-rated, highly experienced attorneys.