In 2011, the most recent year with available data, 3,331 individuals were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. Additionally, nearly 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents, totaling 10% of all traffic injuries for the year. Distracted driving includes any activity that has the potential to divert your attention away from the road when driving, and in our technology-focused generation, we often have dozens of things to distract us in our vehicles at any one time. Our Chicago lawyers believe that the more information you have, the better you will be able to keep yourself safe behind the wheel. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of some of the most common distractions, and why they are so dangerous to not only you but your loved ones and others with whom you share the road.
Texting-This is probably the single most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel of a car. It requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention on the part of the driver, and at 55 miles per hour, sending a text message is the equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
Eating and Drinking-Eating in the car is something a lot of people do out of necessity. You are busy, so you get fast food on the way to work. However, this can take your hands and your attention away from the wheel as well, and this makes you much slower to react to what is happening around you.
Navigation Systems, the Radio, and Mp3 Players-These are often built into the cars themselves, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. Use of a navigation system should be done only when the car is not in motion, and many companies have already changed their on board computer interfaces to incorporate this in their newer models. Additionally, using the radio, iPods, or smart phones to play music through USB ports is also very dangerous and mirrors texting in its effects on cognitive, motor, and visual attention.
Talking to Passengers-This is our last major distraction, and it is by far the most underreported cause of traffic accidents. As you take on more passengers in your vehicle, your likelihood of being involved in an accident also increases. Many states have started putting limits on the number of passengers that new drivers can transport at one time. (Distraction.gov)
A great deal of research is currently being done to learn more about distracted driving, but it is clear that the best way to avoid these types of accidents is to simply avoid things that prevent you from driving safely. If you are interested in learning more about this issue, you can visit Distraction.gov for more information, and if you have been the victim of a distracted driving accident, our attorneys are always available for a free consultation.