Distracted driving killed 2,841 people in 2018, some of whom were passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists. While people often think of drunk driving as the leading cause of fatal traffic accidents, distracted driving can be just as deadly.
What is Considered Distracted Driving?
Anything that distracts you from the driving task is considered distracted driving. Distracted driving can include turning around to talk to others in the car, eating your lunch, applying makeup, sending and reading text messages, having a phone conversation or tuning the radio.
The most alarming of these distractions, however, is texting. It takes about five seconds, on average, to read or send a text message. While five seconds may seem like only a brief moment, it is enough time to send you barreling through a stop sign or a red light.
Five seconds is more than enough time for you to run over a pedestrian in the crosswalk or a cyclist riding alongside your car. It’s like driving with your eyes closed.
Any activity that takes your attention away from the task of driving is potentially deadly.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
If you are looking away from the road for any reason, you are visually distracted from the driving task. Looking over at the passenger while they’re talking, trying to read a billboard on the highway or looking in the vanity mirror are examples of this.
Looking away, even for a brief moment means that you will not be able to react quickly to an unexpected obstruction in the road, or another driver abruptly changing lanes, for example.
Taking your hands off the wheel to perform non-driving tasks is considered distracted driving. This includes styling hair, reaching for something in the passenger seat, changing the playlist on your phone, adjusting the GPS directions or picking up a phone.
Like visual distractions, you will have less reaction time when your hands are off the wheel.
Driving requires mental focus. A cognitive distraction is one that requires you to shift your thinking away from driving and on to another task. This can include being engrossed in conversation with a passenger, thinking of what you want to eat for lunch or trying to remember details to include in a text.
A person whose mind is not focused on the driving task can be easily caught unaware while driving.
Texting and driving is considered the most dangerous distraction because it combines all three of these elements.
Distracted Driving is Deadly
Of the 2,841 people killed because of distracted driving, 605 of them were passengers. This means that riding in the car with someone who texts, takes calls or changes the playlist can cost you your life. Some people are killed by other drivers, meaning that you could be following every traffic law and operating your own vehicle in a safe manner, yet still be killed by a distraction.
Distracted driving most often kills young people between the ages of 16-24. Statistics show that the more teenagers and young adults in a car, the more likely they are to get into a fatal car accident. Passengers often become a distraction for the driver, talking to him and diverting his attention, making loud startling noises and asking for items that require the driver to refocus his attention.
In 2015, more than 25% of all distracted driving accidents occurred between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., which coincides with the time that most people are leaving school and work.
When it comes to distracted driving, don’t become a statistic. If you have sustained an injury by a distracted motorist, a Rockford car accident lawyer can help you to recover the money you need to regain your life. Call your Rockford car accident lawyer for a free consultation today.