Distracted driving is becoming an increasingly ubiquitous issue on America’s roads. With the United States Department of Transportation claiming that distractions while driving increase the vehicle’s crash risk by 23, this dangerous habit has now overtaken drunk driving as the most significant cause of car crashes on Californian roads.
Of course, distracted driving has existed for as long as people have used transportation. Perhaps horse-drawn carriages frequently got into sticky situations if a coachman took his eyes off the road to catch up on the latest headlines. But in our ever more digital world, there are so many more things to be distracted by these days. Texting, video calls and even gaming while driving take up a lot of a driver’s concentration, and can impair driving over an alarming distance. According to Go Safely California, the average distraction causes the driver to take their eyes off the road for five seconds. Now, that may not sound like a lot but that’s enough time to drive the length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour.
There are three recognized types of distracted driving:
Manual – this involves taking your hands off the wheel. You may be texting on your cellphone or simply reaching for a bottle of water. No matter what your hands are doing, you will take much longer to react to a hazard on the road as you first have to stop what you’re doing and return your hands to the wheel before you can maneuver.
Visual – this form of distraction means you have taken your eyes off the road. Maybe you’re reading a text or notification that has popped up on your phone or checking on the kids in the back seat. Even if it’s just for a couple seconds, the consequences can be very serious as a car can cover a lot of distance in a few short seconds.
Cognitive – cognitive distraction entails your concentration simply not being on the task of driving safely. A hands-free phone call would fall under this category. Even if you have your hands on the wheel and your eyes firmly on the road, your brain can be called away to focus on other things—increasing your reaction time in a similar way to alcohol.
Although it’s illegal in the state of California to hold a cellphone while driving, users are allowed to answer and make phone calls on speakerphone. This may be legal, but having a phone conversation while driving can still impact concentration: in 2019, 51.3% of drivers admitted to making at least one mistake while driving and talking on a cell phone.
If you have been in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, Scranton Law Firm is here to help. We know how difficult it is to deal with the stress of a legal case alongside recovering from an accident, so we do our level best to get your life back on track. Get in touch with our expert team of personal injury lawyers so we can assess your car accident case today.