Distracted Driving Is Slowly Becoming the New Drunk Driving
Distracted drivers are increasingly becoming major risks to others sharing the road. While DUI-related accidents still cause the most deaths and injuries, accidents involving distracted drivers are growing in numbers. Statistics show that 3,450 people were killed and another 391,000 people were injured in 2016 as a result of distracted driving.
In today’s world, there is no shortage of objects available to take your focus away from the road while driving. Cell phones are one of the most common driver distractions. Eighty-two percent of Americans said they felt the most pressure from their families to use their cell phones while driving.
Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field. Additional distractions include grooming, reading, and fiddling with your GPS or the radio. The more these types of devices become available in our cars, the higher the chance we will become distracted using them.
As discussed above, there are many objects and activities that cause distractions while driving. All of those distractions fall within at least one of three categories: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- Visual: A visual distraction occurs whenever you take your eyes off the road. This may include looking at your GPS or other digital entertainment systems.
- Manual: A manual distraction happens when you take one or both of your hands off the steering wheel. Examples include eating and drinking, operating the GPS or the radio, or reaching in your handbag.
- Cognitive: A cognitive distraction occurs when you take your mind off driving and lose focus. If you are thinking about personal issues or talking to another passenger or someone on the phone, you are experiencing a cognitive distraction.
Texting and driving involves all three of these forms.
While both these ways of driving are incredibly dangerous, distracted driving is also much harder to prove and report on than drunk driving is. While it’s easy to take the blood alcohol content of a person after an accident, it’s harder to show if a driver was on their phone or distracted in another way right before the accident, such as eating, talking to a passenger, or changing a CD.
Because of this, the number of accidents caused by distracted driving may be much higher than reported. In addition, here are some stats to show how these numbers have fluctuated over the past few years:
- Each year between 2010 and 2015, distracted driving deaths have increased from 3,092 in 2010 to 3,477 in 2015; and
- As of 2018, DUI-related deaths in the U.S. have declined by about a third, although they still are one of the top causes of car accidents.
Remember that nothing is worth your safety or the safety of others on the road. Always stay vigilant while driving and avoid distractions when behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver, we can help ensure your rights are protected. Contact Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci at (833) 600-0125 to schedule your no-fee, no-obligation consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.