What Distracted Driving Has to Do with Car Accidents

How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can be as dangerous if not more so than drunk driving. However, analysis of it as a factor in car accidents is a more recent development. This is true especially in regards to cell phone use.

In contrast, for more than 100 years drunk driving has been a known cause of car accidents. As a result, state legislatures have passed DUI laws to penalize drivers charged with driving while intoxicated. In fact, the first law went for drunken driving into effect in New York in 1920.

What are some examples of distracted driving?

According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), any activity that takes the drivers attention off the road is distracted driving.

Examples include:

  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Texting on a phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting a radio or stereo
  • Dealing with a navigation system

Of the above examples, texting is the most dangerous. On the average, a texting person’s attention is off the road for five seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, a car goes the length of a football field in five seconds.

Texting involves three types of distraction:

  • Manual distraction. The driver must tap the phone to type in the text or to activate dictation.
  • Cognitive distraction. Drivers put their minds on the text message instead of the road.
  • Visual distraction: While looking at the phone, there is virtually no visual perception of the road.

In what ways is distracted driving more dangerous than drunk driving?

A study by the Transport Research Laboratory revealed that typing a text message slows a driver’s reaction time by 35 percent. By comparison, drinking up to the legal limit slows a driver’s reaction time by 12 percent.

How many people die a year due to distracted driving accidents?

In 2019, distracted driving was a factor in 3,142 fatalities.

What should you do if you were the victim of a distracted driving accident?

If your injuries were serious, you should speak with an accident lawyer about your accident. The initial consultation is free and we can advise you whether to pursue a case. There are no out-of-pocket expenses. Also, fees only apply if we settle or win your case. Your fees are a portion of the compensation that we recover on your behalf.