The Three Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has become a significant public health risk all across the United States. Especially here in California – where heavy traffic can lead to road rage and other types of distractions – road users are put in danger by distracted drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, you have the legal right to be compensated for all your losses. Call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271. Our experienced San Jose auto accident attorneys know how to protect your legal rights after any type of auto accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three main types of distractions that lead to car accidents: visual, manual, and cognitive. Each of these distractions impairs driving abilities in different ways:
- Visual Distractions: These are distractions that affect what a driver is seeing. Visual distractions can be outside of the vehicle (such as billboards) or inside the vehicle (such as children or pets that need a driver’s attention).
- Manual Distractions: These are distractions that affect what a driver is touching. Examples include food or drinks in the vehicle.
- Cognitive Distractions: These are distractions that affect what a driver is thinking. Conversations with passengers are a common example of something that can dangerously divert a driver’s attention from the road.
The most dangerous distractions are a combination of these categories. For example, a billboard can be both a visual distraction (by taking the driver’s eyes off the road) and a cognitive distraction (by diverting the driver’s attention to the billboard, and away from the road). Texting distracts a driver visually (by looking at the phone), manually (by requiring the driver to type), and cognitively (by drawing focus to the conversation). This is why texting and driving are so deadly.
It is also to understand which type of distraction is actually affecting a driver. For example, many people are under the mistaken belief that hands-free mobile devices are safer from drivers to use than handheld devices. But research has repeatedly found similar rates of impairment between drivers using hands-free and handheld devices. This is because the cognitive impairment (focusing on the phone conversation instead of driving) is the same. This is a dangerous misapprehension. Science Direct published one study that found handheld users were more likely to attribute an accident to their phone user than hands-free users. This was in spite of the fact that risk estimates were the same for all mobile device users.
Distracted Driving by the Numbers
Here are some shocking statistics about just how dangerous distracted driving really is:
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a total of 3,166 deaths occurred in the United States in 2017 as the result of distracted driving.
- The Insurance Information Institute reports that, between 2012 and 2017, cell phones were identified as distracting drivers in 14 percent of all fatal crashes.
- End Distracted Driving found that distracted driving is likely under-reported. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phones were responsible for 27 percent of car crashes in 2015.
- EndDD also reports that teens whose parents drive while distracted are two to four times more likely to also drive while distracted.
Why Distracted Driving is Especially Dangerous for Teen Drivers
New drivers are inexperienced in the rules of the road. They must use more visual, manual, and cognitive effort to avoid collisions. This makes distractions even more dangerous for a new teen driver. Research has repeatedly found that teen drivers are more likely to cause accidents when passengers are in the vehicle (due to the distractions they cause). Because of this, many states – including California – restricts the circumstances in which a teen driver can carry passengers in his or her vehicle.
State laws are important, but parents can have an even greater impact on teens’ driving habits. Follow these tips to help your teen eliminate distractions while driving:
- Model good driving behavior for your teen. Never use a mobile device while driving. (This is illegal, except in emergencies.) Do not allow yourself to be distracted by children, pets, or conversations with passengers in the car. Show teens what safe driving habits look like.
- Establish very clear family rules about using mobile devices while driving. Do not hesitate to revoke driving privileges if a teen does text and drive. It endangers your child, his or her passengers, and everyone else on the road. It could make you liable for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. It could raise your insurance rates. It is a serious problem, and your teen must understand that you take it seriously.
- Establish clear rules about having passengers in the vehicle. When a teen has a provisional license (ages 16 to 18), it is illegal to carry any passenger under the age of 20 in the vehicle for the first 12 months (unless an adult over age 25 is also in the vehicle). Even once this restriction is lifted, having passengers in the vehicle increases your teen’s risk of causing an accident. Be sure that your teen’s passengers are respectful and do not distract from the task of safe driving. If you do allow your teen to carry passengers, be sure to limit the number of passengers that can be in the vehicle at one time. Research has found that the risk of an accident increases with the number of passengers in the vehicle.
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a San Jose Auto Accident Attorney
Don’t deal with a negligent driver’s insurance company on your own. Let an experienced auto accident lawyer fight for your right to compensation. You can focus on your recovery, secure in the knowledge that a skilled legal professional is protecting your legal rights.
Call Deldar Legal (844) 335-3271 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with a San Jose auto accident lawyer. We will protect your legal right to be fully and fairly compensated for all the losses you have sustained as the result of an accident.