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Why is distracted driving a serious safety issue?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Distracted driving has emerged as a significant threat to road safety over the past two decades, contributing to a substantial number of accidents, injuries and fatalities every year. This issue stems from drivers diverting their attention from the primary task of driving to other activities, which compromises their ability to effectively respond to road conditions, traffic laws and the actions of other drivers.

The seriousness of distracted driving lies in its ability to reduce a driver’s awareness, decision-making capacity and overall vehicle control, increasing the risk of accidents. Each type of distracted driving interferes with driving performance in different ways, but all are equally hazardous.

Cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving. This can happen during conversations with passengers, daydreaming or being preoccupied with personal, family or work-related issues. Even hands-free devices, while keeping the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, can lead to a cognitive distraction as the driver’s attention is divided.

Visual distractions

Visual distractions involve taking one’s eyes off the road. This can happen for various reasons, such as looking at a GPS device, reading a billboard or checking on children in the backseat. A quick glance away from the road can lead to missing critical information, like a sudden stop in traffic or a pedestrian crossing the road.

Manual distractions

Manual distractions are when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel. This includes eating, drinking, adjusting the radio or climate controls or using a smartphone. These distractions take the driver’s focus away from driving and reduce vehicle control.

Many motorist actions encompass more than one type of distraction. For example, checking on a child in the backseat requires the parent to look away from the road and think about what’s happening. If they need to fix something or hand the child something, they must take their eyes off the road.

Distracted driving crashes can lead to serious injuries that may result in considerable expenses. Victims of another driver’s negligence may opt to pursue a compensation claim. Obtaining legal guidance is beneficial in these cases, as each is unique.