What is distracted driving? Distracted driving involves activities that divert a driver’s attention. Distractions while driving put the driver, his passengers, and everyone else sharing the road, at serious risk of injury. We’ve all seen other drivers going aimlessly down the road while staring at their phones or other devices. Distracted driving causes many automobile crashes each year. We are committed to helping our clients who are hurt by distracted drivers. We are also committed to increasing awareness and education of this problem. Through awareness and education, we can all make our roads safer.Types of Distraction
Traffic safety experts often classify distractions into three main categories: Manual, Visual and Cognitive.
- Manual distractions are activities where the driver moves his or her hands away from controlling the vehicle. Through the years, we have investigated many personal injury cases where drivers caused automobile accidents while reaching for objects in other areas of their car.
- Visual distractions are activities where the driver focuses his or her eyes away from the road. Many automobile accidents occur because a driver is looking somewhere other than the road.
- Cognitive distractions are activities where the driver’s mind wanders away from the task of driving. These drivers are not mentally focusing and paying attention to the important task of driving their car.
Why is texting so dangerous? Texting is especially dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction at the same time. A person who is texting takes their hands, eyes and mind from the task of driving. What are some major types of distractions faced by drivers each day on our highways?
- Eating and drinking
- Using a cellphone
- Turning attention to other passengers
- Reading, often maps
- Using vehicle or personal navigational systems
- Watching a video
- Adjusting the radio
- Attending or disciplining children passengers
While keeping a focus on the roadway may sound like obvious advice, it is too often ignored. Drivers are presented with many activities and devices that can create dangerous risks of distraction.
Texting is a perfect example of how activities can dangerously divert a driver’s attention from the road. Some studies indicate a person’s eyes are diverted from the roadway an average of five seconds at a time while texting. If a driver is traveling at 55 miles per hour and diverts his or her eyes from the road for five seconds, their vehicle will have traveled more than the length of an entire football field. Imagine traveling a distance greater than a football field in a vehicle while blindfolded.
Research from 2011 by the U.S. Department of Transportation revealed startling information about the toll of distracted driving on our highways. According to this research:
- Ten percent of fatal crashes in 2011 were reported as distraction affected crashes.
- An estimated 387,000 people suffered personal injury in automobile accidents due to distracted drivers in 2011.
- An estimated 3,331 people were killed in crashes related to distracted driving in 2011.
The true numbers are likely much higher. Distracted driving plays an unreported role in many car crashes.
The current numbers have also likely increased. While Alabama and other states have enacted laws related to texting while driving, the distractions on our roadways have greatly increased. Portable electronics now allow us easily to watch videos, communicate, view the internet and perform many other tasks all while in our automobiles.Experience Matters
Distracted driving is a major safety risk on our roads. The Blackwell Law Firm is committed to helping people who have suffered serious injury from automobile accidents. The firm frequently represents people who have suffered spinal injuries, ruptured disks, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, paralysis and other severe injuries caused by the negligence or careless acts of other drivers.
If you or a family member has suffered an accident, we would be happy to answer your questions. Please feel free to call. Case consultations are always free.Resources
- View our "Distracted Driving" slideshow