In most scenarios, the passage of 5 seconds isn’t all that significant. However, when you are operating a vehicle constructed with thousands of pounds worth of steel, aluminum and hard plastic, taking your eyes off of the road for even this short amount of time can make all the difference in the world. This number comes from studies conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, which shown that the average text message takes a person’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds. To put that kind of inattention into perspective, that’s enough time for your car to cover the entire length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour, and doing it all completely blind.
According to the official federal definition, distracted driving is any activity that has the potential to divert a driver’s attention away from their primary task of operating their vehicle. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that nearly 10 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured every single day because of distraction related car accidents, and this number is likely still an underestimate. Our Chicago car accident lawyers have dealt with many distracted driving cases over the years, but due to the increasing prevalence of technology in and around automobiles, we believe it is important to raise awareness and educate as many people as possible to this hazard. Below is a short list that our legal team has put together, so our readers know the most common causes of distraction behind the wheel.
Use of a Cell Phone or Smartphone While Driving-All distractions are dangerous, but because of the fact that texting and operating a smart phone requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, it is by far the most pressing issue. What many people don’t know is that hands free devices and sync systems are not much safer than cell phone use, and can still lead to a serious accident.
Use of Other Technology-This category includes things like navigation systems and radios, as well as DVD, CD, and Mp3 players. Changing songs on an Mp3 player or looking for a station on the radio can be just as hazardous as sending a text message.
Eating and Drinking-This is a serious problem primarily because it requires at least one hand to be manually removed from the driving process, and also requires you to focus on your food while taking bites. Aside from that, spilling a hot coffee or dropping a cheeseburger on your shirt can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Grooming-Similar to eating and drinking, grooming requires a great deal of physical effort to be done properly, and this doesn’t compliment driving.
Passengers-Possibly to the most often overlooked distraction is everyone else your vehicle. Whether it’s crying babies, kids, or your crazy friends, passengers can take your attention away from the road completely, and put everyone at risk. Obviously crying babies are one thing, but if you find yourself in a vehicle with distracting passengers, establish basic ground rules and let them know that they need to be considerate of you while you are driving. (Distraction.Gov)
Our lawyers know how devastating negligent and reckless drivers can be. If you or one of your family members has been the victim of a wrongful injury, call us now to see how our firm can go to work for you and your family.