Thursday, November 7, 2013

What is Distracted Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, approximately 1 out of every 5 car accidents that occurred in the United States was caused by distracted driving. That same year, distracted driving accidents injured approximately 416,000 people and led to 3,000 fatalities.

Although many people consider distracted driving to be synonymous with texting while driving, this dangerous habit can involve much more than cell phone use while behind the wheel. There are three main types of driver distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual Distractions

A driver is visually distracted when they take their eyes off of the road, either for a few seconds or a longer period of time. Common forms of visual distraction include:
  • Reading or composing a text message
  • Looking at a cell phone
  • Looking at something on the side of the road or in the distance, such as a collision
  • Reading a map or GPS

Manual Distractions

Manual distraction occurs when a driver takes one or both hands off of the wheel for a few seconds or a number of minutes. This type of distraction commonly occurs because the driver is:
  • Eating or drinking
  • Writing a text message
  • Answering or making a phone call
  • Adjusting the stereo
  • Reaching for something in another part of the vehicle
  • Grooming, such as applying makeup or using an electric razor

Cognitive Distractions

A driver is cognitively distracted when their mind is completely or partially unfocused on driving safely. Although the driver’s hands may be on the wheel and their eyes on the road, they can still be cognitively distracted if they are driving while:
  • Exhausted
  • Emotional
  • Extremely stressed
  • Talking to passengers
  • Conversing over the phone
  • Composing a text message

Many drivers do not realize that they are allowing themselves to be distracted while on the road, or the risk that they are placing themselves and other motorists in. Be mindful of your actions while you drive and make the choice to practice safe driving.

De Castroverde Law Group represents accident victims in the Las Vegas area. If you were injured by a distracted driver in Clark County, visit the Car Accidents section on our website to learn about your options.