Mounting work, family, and social obligations keep people busier than ever. Having so much to do makes achieving the perfect work-life balance feel like a next-to-impossible challenge and makes people feel as though multitasking is a necessity.
While you might be able to get away with sending emails during a meeting or wrangling kids while making dinner, one place where multitasking is never appropriate is behind the wheel of a vehicle. And, yet, studies show that people perform all kinds of other tasks while driving, putting themselves, their passengers, and everyone else on the road in danger in the process.
Distracted driving—which is any behavior or activity that diverts attention away from piloting the vehicle—is a leading cause of car and truck accidents in the United States that can be just as catastrophic as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Despite the dangers associated with driving while distracted, many motorists continue to drive without giving the road the undivided attention it deserves.
One reason many motorists drive while distracted is because they mistakenly believe that the consequences of do so—such as being involved in a serious accident with injuries or fatalities—can't happen to them. However, as any victim can attest, car crashes can happen to anyone and, when they do, can turn a person's entire world upside down.
In many ways, technology has vastly improved the quality of our lives. But, sometimes, when technology is used improperly or at an inopportune time—such as while driving—it can actually be a hindrance. In fact, some experts think the ubiquitousness of technology inside the vehicle has made it even easier for motorists to become distracted while driving.
Common technological distractions include:
- Using an in-vehicle navigation system or smartphone navigation app
- Talking on a cell phone or a smartphone
- Reading or sending text messages, checking emails, playing games, or using social media on a smartphone
- Watching movies on an in-vehicle DVD or Blu-Ray player
- Adjusting music on a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
Other Common Distractions
Tech gadgets aren't the only things that can distract drivers. Other common distractions include:
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup, fixing hair, and other grooming behaviors
- Reading physical maps
- Talking to passengers
- Scolding children
Consequences of Driving While Distracted
Having a short phone conversation or glancing at an incoming text message while driving may not seem as bad as driving while drunk, but it can be just as deadly.
Consider these concerning statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2012; 3,154 in 2013; and 3,179 in 2014.
- More than 431,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2014.
- At any moment, more than 660,000 drivers in America are using phones or other electronic devices behind the wheel.
- Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous driver distractions, because it requires motorists to take their hands off the wheel, and their eyes and cognitive focus off of the road.
- The risk of being involved in an accident doubles when a driver takes their eyes off the road for more than one second.
- The average text requires drivers to take their eyes off the road for at least five seconds, which is long enough to travel the length of a football field.
Are You Considering a Distracted Driving Lawsuit?
If you or someone you love was injured in a car crash caused by a driver who was talking on a cell phone, texting, or otherwise distracted, you know better than anyone just how devastatingly dangerous this behavior can be. Fortunately, the law gives you the ability to sue the at-fault driver for personal injuries as well as related medical expenses, property damage, and more.
Contact Sevenish Law online or by calling 800-278-9200 to schedule a free consultation regarding your potential distracted driving lawsuit.