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Driver Distraction and Auto Accidents
It seems everyone has such a busy life these days: work, school, soccer practice, band rehearsals, dentist appointments, and dance lessons. With millions and millions of us constantly on the go, it’s not a surprise that people try to accomplish little tasks as they drive all over town. But distracted drivers are dangerous drivers, and dangerous drivers cause deadly car accidents. There are basically three types of driver distraction:
- Eyes off the road, which is a visual distraction
- Mind off the road, which is referred to as cognitive distraction
- Hand off the steering wheel, which is considered manual distraction
Changing your CD or looking for a particular song is an example of a distraction that involves all three types of driver distraction. First, you take your hand off the wheel to put the CD in, you have to look at the CD player to put the CD in, and you have to think about pressing the buttons to get the songs you want to hear. That is a triple whammy that can spell disaster on the road, yet it’s something we probably all have done in our driving careers.
All three types of driver distraction (visual, manual and cognitive) are equally dangerous and can lead to automobile accidents resulting in catastrophic personal injury or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) driver distractions are the leading cause of most motor vehicle crashes and near-crashes; 80% of crashes and 60% near-crashes are caused by some type of driver distraction, and the distraction typically occurs within three seconds of the crash.
Cell Phones and Car Accidents
It is no surprise that with the extremely high number of people who own cell phones these days that an estimated 85% of Americans use our cell phones while driving. While many people insist they are great multi-taskers and can drive and talk on the phone or text even, it’s a simple fact that using a cell phone while driving increases your chances of being involved in a car accident. There is absolutely no way that a driver on a cell phone can be as attentive to his driving and surroundings as someone not using a phone.
Some argue that while texting does take your eyes off the road for several seconds at a time, merely talking on the phone does not avert your eyes from the road at all. However, talking and driving does affect your attention; we tend to get so wrapped up in our conversation that we just simply do not pay as much attention to our driving. Having our attention taken from the road can be just as disastrous as taking our eyes off the road to send or read a text message. Due to the dangers involved with cell phone use and driving, some states have actually created laws to punish drivers who use their phones while driving. There are DWT (driving while texting) laws in several states (over 25 at the time of this writing) that result in fines for offenders.
Other Driver Distractions
While cell phone use is the number one driver distraction, it is not the only one. Some other common driver distractions include:
- Reaching for something on the floor, back seat or passenger seat
- Reading (map, newspaper)
- Looking at something (an accident, a landmark, an event)
- Putting on makeup
- Lighting cigarettes
- Adjusting radio/CD player
Simply put, distracted drivers cause accidents.
If you live in the Mobile, Alabama area and have been involved in an automobile accident, a distracted driver may have been at fault. Please contact the Alabama automobile accident attorneys at Long & Waite, P.C. today to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation.