Distracted drivers put the safety of other drivers, passengers, and bystanders at risk. Distracted drivers are as high as 48 times more likely to be involved in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Moreover, recent studies suggest that approximately 420,000 people are injured by distracted drivers every year.
What is Distracted Driving?
Drivers can be said to be distracted whenever they allow their attention to be diverted away from driving. Distracted driving as an activity can be described as anything that takes your attention away from driving when you are behind the wheel.
Younger drivers are distracted more easily than older drivers. As such, the largest percentage of distracted drivers is made up of drivers under 20 years of age. Moreover, 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 who are involved in auto accidents report being distracted just before the accident occurred.
Typical behavior that leads to a driver being distracted include:
- Talking on cell phones
- Taking selfies or other pictures
- Eating or drinking
- Fumbling around with GPS or other devices
- Engaging with passengers
- Reading road maps
- Watching videos
Genuinely safe driving requires 100 percent of the driver’s attention––in other words, it requires 100 percent of a person’s visual, mental and physical attention.
Mental distractions slow a driver’s reaction time and cause “inattention blindness,” meaning that the driver will have difficulty noticing important visual information, such as brake lights on the car ahead or a pedestrian crossing the street.
How to Spot Distracted Drivers
Distracted drivers are prone to exhibit the following behavior:
- Drifting in and out of their lane
- Neglecting to use their turn signals
- Braking suddenly
- Failing to maintain an even rate of speed (they often drive slower than the traffic around them)
These types of behaviors can lead to crossing the centerline and causing head-on collisions, or even injuring and killing pedestrians and bicycle riders.
Distracted Drivers and Cell Phones
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 50 percent of all drivers multitask while driving, and 34 percent use their cell phones when driving on a regular basis. In fact, it is estimated that up to 660,000 drivers are on their cell phones at any given moment.
This is especially dangerous, since sending or receiving a text message distracts a driver away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this means that a driver is “driving blind” for 100 yards––the entire length of a football field––with each new text.
Furthermore, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by an average of 37 percent! In fact, studies have shown that a driver who is texting is as much impaired as one driving at the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08 percent. This leads many to refer to distracted driving as the “new drunk driving.”
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
Distracted drivers cause serious injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage. If you have been injured in an auto accident and a distracted driver was at-fault, Contact an experienced auto accident attorney immediately. Evidence needed to establish fault and win your case must be obtained quickly before it cannot be recovered. This includes cell phone records and eyewitness testimony.