The official U.S. government website for distracted driving, Distraction.gov, describes this type of behavior as “any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving.” Common distracted driving behaviors include using a cell phone or smartphone, texting or emailing, eating or drinking, grooming, adjusting music, talking to passengers, and reading a map or using an in-vehicle navigation system.
While anyone can give in to temptation and take their eyes off the road for “just a second,” research shows that some drivers are more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors than others.
Drivers Under Age 20
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the youngest, least experienced drivers are most likely to be involved in fatal accidents caused by driver distractions. According to government statistics, drivers ages 15 to 19 were involved in a whopping 16 percent of all fatal car accidents caused by distraction.
To help keep your teen driver safe, model good driving behaviors and discuss the dangerous of driving when attention is diverted from the road.
Drivers Ages 20 to 29
Drivers in their 20s are the next most likely group to drive while distracted. These drivers account for 27 percent of distracted drivers, and 23 percent of drivers involved in all fatal accidents. As a result, 12 percent of the drivers killed in car accidents when distracted driving was a factor are between the ages of 20 and 29. Additionally, 38 percent of distracted drivers who were using their cell phone at the time of a fatal crash were in their 20s.
Age group isn't the only thing that can make a person more likely to drive while distracted. According to government research, what you drive can have an impact as well. For example, studies show that motorists most likely to be distracted during fatal crashes drove larger vehicles, such as SUVs or pickup trucks.
Motorcyclists and Bicyclists
Motorcyclists and bicyclists aren't immune to the temptations of distracted driving either. In fact, motorcyclists are just as likely to fall victim to distractions as the drivers of SUVs and pickup trucks. In addition, even when motorcyclists and bicyclists employ their best on-the-road behavior, their lack of a protective “exoskeleton” means that their safety depends largely on the driving practices of the motorists around them. When motorists take their eyes off the road—to eat, drink, adjust the music, or answer a “quick” text—they can put motorcyclists, bicyclists, and even pedestrians in grave danger.
Discouraging Distracted Driving
Distracted driving in Indiana is a growing problem. From state legislatures to national safety organizations, people are rallying together to change behavior. Some safety organizations believe the key to preventing distracted driving is to spread awareness of its potentially dangerous consequences resulting in a car accident.
Many states, including Indiana, have passed laws prohibiting new drivers from texting or using a cell phone while driving. Some states have also implemented laws banning the use of hand-held devices, even though studies show that using hands-free devices isn't much safer.
Were You Injured in a Crash Caused by a Distracted Driver?
Distracted driving can have catastrophic consequences not only for people who took their eyes off the road, but also unsuspecting individuals expecting everyone to focus on safe motoring. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it may seem like your entire life was turned upside down on that fateful day. You may find yourself seriously injured, facing a painful recovery period, and struggling with medical bills to make ends meet. Fortunately, you may not have to shoulder these financial burdens on your own.
Have you been injured by a distracted driver? Call us today at 800-278-9200 to schedule a free initial consultation or complete our convenient online contact form.