Operating a motor vehicle requires a great deal of attention and focus, and drivers are tasked with protecting themselves and others from harm every time they get behind the wheel. Failure to take the proper care when driving can result in car accidents that may injure other drivers or pedestrians. Distracted driving is one of the most common forms of driver negligence that can lead to a collision, and those who have been injured by a driver who was not paying attention to the road should be sure to understand their legal options for recovering compensation for their damages.
Types of Driver Distractions
Because driving is a commonplace activity for many people, it can be easy for a driver to take some of their attention off the road and focus on something else. However, while “multitasking” is a skill that can be useful in many aspects of life, it should not be utilized when driving a vehicle. Distractions when behind the wheel can be very dangerous, and they can include one or more of the following:
- Visual Distractions involving taking one’s eyes off of the road. Examples include talking, texting, playing games, or taking pictures on a cell phone, using a GPS navigation system, looking at passengers in the vehicle, focusing on changing settings on the car’s radio, or fixating on a sight outside the window.
- Manual Distractions refer to not having both hands on the wheel in a driving position. Cell phone or radio usage often involves this type of distraction, and smoking, drinking, eating, applying makeup, or any other manual activity can also result in a driver not being in full control of their vehicle.
- Cognitive distractions involve a driver not concentrating fully on the act of driving. Instead of focusing on the road, other vehicles, or following traffic laws, a driver may be paying attention to other thoughts or actions. Singing, focusing on a conversation or text message, or even reading a book or magazine could all be forms of cognitive distractions.
Cell phone usage is one of the leading causes of driver distractions. The use of a phone or a similar electronic device often involves all three categories of distraction. While there are laws in place to deter drivers from being distracted by phones or other devices, many people continue to take their attention off the road to make calls, send text messages, or perform other activities. It has been reported that in 2017, 3,166 people were killed in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. This number does not include hit-and-runs, accidents with inconclusive evidence, and unreported cases, so the actual number could be much higher....