Chances are that you have probably had the uncomfortable experience of passing another driver using his or her cell phone behind the wheel. Between the seemingly endless options for social media apps, streaming services and games, staying off one’s phone often seems like a herculean task — even when driving. However, just because distracted driving became more noticeable after the invention of cell phones does not mean that it was not around before.
Distracted driving has existed for as long as driving has been around. This is because the terms distracted driving and texting while driving are not synonymous. The definition of distracted driving is actually any activity that takes your attention off the road.
The 3 types of distractions
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — NHTSA — points out that there are three distinct categories of distracted driving. Each of these categories is associated with certain behaviors. These three categories are:
A manual distraction is any behavior that takes your hands off the steering wheel, such as reaching for an item. A visual distraction, such as looking at children in the backseat, takes your eyes off the road. Finally, a cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind off the task at hand, and may include thinking about work or mentally creating a grocery list.
Risks associated with distracted driving
Most drivers in North Carolina know that distracted driving is dangerous. Unfortunately, since it is so widespread — nearly 25% of drivers text and drive — many people do not fully grasp just how devastating distracted driving really is. A driver who is reaching for an object is eight times as likely to cause an accident.
There is a more pronounced issue among teen drivers. Distracted driving is directly related to nearly 60% of all crashes that involve teenage drivers. Parents should do their best to effectively communicate the dangers of distracted driving to their children.
Work puts the pressure on
Employers often pressure their workers to be available at all times both on and off the clock. Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 34, 37% say their employers pressure them to respond to work-related messages right away, even while driving. This kind of pressure creates more drivers who are looking at their phones rather than at the road.
A distracted driving accident can be devastating. On top of dealing with pain and suffering associated with their injuries, many victims often struggle financially and emotionally, too. Some may not even be sure where to turn for help. The good news is that there are many options at your disposal, including pursuing compensation through the successful actions of a personal injury lawsuit.