Research Shows Distracted Driving Is More Than Taking Our Eyes Off the Road
From the implementation of state-to-state cell phone laws and public awareness campaigns to startling news reports in the media, it seems the warnings about the dangers of distracted driving and related car accidents are everywhere we turn. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported over 3,000 deaths in 2017, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in recent years, nearly 400,000 people have been injured due to distracted driving incidents. Despite the fact that statistics such as these keep surfacing, the number of alarming accidents continues to leave trails of both fatal and non-fatal injuries across our roadways.
Distracted Driving Takes Different Forms
Cell phone use is typically the first thing most drivers think of when it comes to the subject of distracted driving, but research shows that the issue is more complex than simply using a cell phone behind the wheel. According to the CDC, distracted driving takes many different forms and can be anything that pulls our attention away from the road. The CDC tells us that our attention can be disrupted in three different ways: visually, manually, and cognitively. Here are some examples of how these distracted driving incidents can take place:
- Visual Distraction: Texting alone takes our eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds, but our ability to safely operate a vehicle is instantly impaired anytime we are visually distracted, whether our eyes are peeled from the road due to sightseeing or we are engaging in a heated debate with a passenger next to us. Not only are we unable to see what is happening directly in front of us, but we are also losing sight of our speed and the proximity of other cars around us, rendering us incapable of driving defensively.
- Manual Distraction: Physically removing our hands from the wheel can be just as deadly as taking our eyes off the road, and usually, these two forms of distracted driving intertwine. Some common dangers that involve taking our hands off the wheel include adjusting the radio or air conditioning or eating while driving. Operating a navigation system while in motion is another common, risky activity.
- Cognitive Distraction: One of the biggest reasons texting and talking on the phone garners so much attention and racks up the highest statistics is the cognitive factor behind the risk. A cognitive distraction is considered anything that takes our minds off the road, and replying to a message or engaging in a phone conversation is more than a simple glance out the window. Conversations redirect our thinking entirely, consuming our attention and eliminating our ability to focus. While science may prove we are able to multitask, we also know that it does not automatically mean we can divide our attention evenly. We can only devote so much focus on a particular task, especially when it comes to driving and the distractions competing for our attention.
Contact an Orland Park, Illinois, Personal Injury Attorney
Studies show that young adults and teen drivers are most at risk for crashing due to distracted driving, but victims of all ages are affected on a daily basis by the negligence of those causing these types of accidents. If you have had the unfortunate experience of becoming a victim statistic, it is important to inform yourself of your rights so you can fully advocate for your health. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The moment you are involved in a collision, speak with a knowledgeable Cook County personal injury lawyer, who can examine your case and determine the nature of the crash. Call Schwartz Injury Law at 708-226-9000 and ask for a free consultation today.