Distracted driving is commonly defined as “when a driver’s attention is diverted away from driving by a secondary task that requires focusing on an object, event, or person not related to the driving task.” All distractions compromise a driver’s ability to some extent and threaten the safety of that driver, other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in the vicinity. Every time a driver adjusts a radio, tends to an irritable child, adjusts air conditioning or heating, applies makeup, shaves, talks to passengers, eats, or reads a map (paper or electronic), the driver is engaging in a distracting task or activity. When drivers think about things other than driving, for example, an argument with a spouse/significant other or financial problems, they can become distracted from the task of driving. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention from the task of driving. Distractions that keep a driver from focusing on the responsibilities of driving include, but are not limited to, talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, playing with the stereo, GPS, or entertainment system. Anything that requires your attention and distracts you from paying full attention to the complicated task of driving a car is fairly categorized as a distraction.
Approximately, nearly one-third of all U.S. drivers 18 to 64 years old read or send a text or email messages while operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving caused by cell phone usage while driving and other distracted driving actions cause more than 420,000 injuries and more than 3,100 deaths annually in the United States. In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed, and approximately 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
‘Texting is the most alarming distraction. A car traveling at 55 miles per hour covers more than 80 feet every second. Sending or reading a text message can take the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. Sending or reading a text message while driving a vehicle at 55 miles per hour means, therefore, that the vehicle will travel the length of a football field without any visual guidance.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Nearly everyone recognizes the risks of distracted driving and cell phone usage while driving, but that alone has not resulted in an observable change in actions.
If you or someone that you care about has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact Hong & Sessions Law, LLC, today for a free consultation.