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Car accidents are often caused by drivers distracted at the wheel. Unfortunately, any type of distracted driving not only endangers the person driving the vehicle, but passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists as well. Although the majority of people have heard just how dangerous distracted driving is, many people still choose to engage in other activities while driving or they aren’t aware that their actions behind the wheel could cause harm.
If you were injured in a car accident and you believe distracted driving may have played a role in the collision, you may be entitled to financial compensation to assist with the cost of your damages. Our Fairfax distracted driving accident lawyers at Shevlin Smith, P.C., can help you with every aspect of your case. We regularly assist clients throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Call us at 703-634-7350 to schedule a free case review with our team today.
What Is Distracted Driving?
When someone is distracted from the primary task of driving, he or she is participating in distracted driving. Unfortunately, it is a very dangerous and extremely risky activity to engage in behind the wheel. In fact, distracted driving is responsible for 8 deaths and 1,161 injuries each day in this nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When someone engages in any type of distracted driving, his or her hands are off the wheel, his or her mind is off of driving safely, and his or her eyes are off the road. Even when one or all of these things occur for a matter of seconds, it can lead to a serious motor vehicle accident.
How Texting And Driving Becomes So Dangerous
All forms of driver distraction are dangerous, of course. Yet texting and driving has quickly become one of the most dangerous types in just the last decade or so with the advent of smartphones. Why is it that texting and driving poses such a hazard? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health and safety organizations, texting and driving combines three distinct forms of distractions to make an extremely dangerous situation.
The three forms of distraction caused simultaneously by texting and driving are:
- Manual: A distraction that takes the driver’s hands off the steering wheel, like picking up the smartphone.
- Visual: A distraction that removes the driver’s eyes off the road and mirrors, like reading a text message.
- Cognitive: A distraction that makes the driver think of something other than driving, like thinking the text’s context.
To make matters worse, cognitive distractions are believed to persist for around 30 seconds. In other words, if a driver reads a text message and puts the phone down, they will still be thinking about what they read for another half-minute or possibly longer.
What Are Some Examples Of Distracted Driving?
There are many different types of distracted driving behaviors that drivers engage in behind the wheel.
Some of the most common and most dangerous distracted driving activities include:
- Texting and driving: Many drivers believe they can safely multitask behind the wheel, but the numbers tell a different story. Texting while driving causes about 330,000 accidents per year. According to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting and driving can increase a driver’s crash risk by up to 23 times. This is because this activity causes a driver to take his or her eyes off the road for an average of 23 seconds, which is way too long to not be looking at the road.
- Using cellphones and smartphones: Whether drivers are scanning through their emails, watching videos, conducting FaceTime calls, or using their phones for a different purpose, any activity that involves a cell phone behind the wheel can endanger drivers, their passengers, and innocent bystanders. Even talking on a cellphone – both handheld and hands-free – can be distracting and dangerous.
- Using devices within the car: Many people look away from the road to select music stations, adjust the vehicle’s temperature, or use their maps and navigation systems. Although these activities seem innocent, anything drivers do that takes their eyes off the road and attention away from driving, even for a split-second, can cause a crash.
- Eating and drinking: Many people get fast food and eat in their cars. Whether it is a coffee and pastry during the morning commute or a hamburger at lunch, any type of eating and drinking while the car is moving is considered risky.
- Dealing with passengers or pets: When drivers turn their heads to deal with a child in the back seat or a rambunctious dog jumping over the seat, they are taking their eyes off the road. Even the act of talking with passengers and looking at them can put the entire vehicle in jeopardy.
- Grooming: Some people choose to shave, brush their teeth, comb their hair, and even change clothes while they are driving—all dangerous activities that can lead to distracted driving accidents.
- Smoking: When drivers light up, smoke, or put ashes in the tray, they are taking their eyes off the road and mind off of driving. Often, smoking can cause people to get lost in their thoughts, which can be a major concern at the wheel.
Get Started On Your Case Today
On some level, distracted driving affects every single driver on the road. The best way to end distracted driving is to share the facts and to encourage those around you to put down their phones and focus on the road when they are in the driver’s seat. Please feel free to share our article with your friends and family on your favorite social media site and help end unnecessary distractions on the road.