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What is Distracted Driving?


Most of us associate distracted driving with the use of cell phones and, while it is certainly one of the primary culprits, there are many forms of distracted driving that put the lives of everyone on the road at risk. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured due to distracted drivers.

To give you an idea of how dangerous distracted driving is, sending or reading a text requires one to take his or her eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. If traveling at 55 mph, this equates to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

While many of us pride ourselves on being masters of multitasking, but one place where you should never test your ability to do multiple things at once is while you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Any time you engage in any other activity besides driving while operating a motor vehicle it is considered a form of distracted driving and it is incredibly dangerous.

Types of Distracted Driving

There are generally three different categories researchers use when referring to distracted driving: manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions are activities that involve a driver taking one or both hands off the wheel to perform another task. These tasks can include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Assisting a child with a car seat or seat belt
  • Smoking
  • Sifting through personal belongings
  • Adjusting the air conditioning or radio

These types of distractions are dangerous since they render a driver unable to properly steer the vehicle or react in a timely manner.

Visual Distractions

People are most familiar with visual distractions, which is essentially any activity that removes your eyes from the road. This includes:

  • Texting, reading an email, using an app
  • Using a GPS navigation system
  • Operating an electronic car device
  • Looking at billboard advertisements
  • Grooming or putting on makeup

Visual distractions are among some of the most dangerous forms of this terrible habit. They prevent a driver from being able to effectively assess his or her surroundings for potential hazards or pedestrians, creating a greater risk for accidents that jeopardize everyone’s safety and well-being.

Cognitive Distractions

These types of distractions are not as straightforward as the previous categories since they relate more to a driver’s mind. Cognitive distractions include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Listening to the radio
  • Using a hands-free calling device

These types of distractions do not involve a driver’s hands or require them to look away from the road, but still take the focus away from the task at hand. Although many states allow the use of hands-free devices for phone calls, it does not mean it is safe. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drivers can miss out on at least 50% of their surroundings when talking on a hands-free device. When a driver’s mind is preoccupied, he or she can still maintain a full view of all surroundings, yet be unable to process them.

Contact Our Firm Today 

Car accidents are often overwhelming and traumatic experiences that occur out of the blue. If you suffer any injuries, you might be facing expensive medical bills, lost wages, or even loss of work, resulting in great financial hardship for you and your family. Unfortunately, insurance companies will do everything they can to keep you from obtaining the fair and just compensation you need and deserve. You do not have to deal with them on your own, however. At Percy Law Group, PC, our attorneys, and staff understand your situation and have helped many injured individuals recover compensation.

Our goal is to allow our clients to focus on their physical recovery while we take care of their financial recovery. As such, we accept cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you will not owe us any legal fees unless we are successful in your case.

Get started today and contact us at (508) 718-2545 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled member of our Massachusetts team.

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