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The problem with distracted driving

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2021 | Injuries |

Balancing work, family and social obligations is no small feat. You have probably experienced just how hard it is to keep these three different areas of your life from seeping into one another. Despite this, you are a safe driver and know how important it is to keep your eyes on the road at all times. Unfortunately, other drivers in Ohio do not treat distracted driving as seriously as you do.

The reality is that distracted driving is dangerous. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — NHTSA — shows that distracted driving contributes to approximately 20% of all car accident injuries. NHTSA data also shows that distracted driving was a factor in nearly 9% of all fatal car accidents in 2019.

Is it all about phones?

There is no doubt that smartphones play a large role in distracted driving. These handheld devices are far from the only problem, though. Indeed, distracted driving has been around as long as cars have been on the road. This is because any behavior that takes a driver’s eyes or focus off the road is considered distracted driving.

One of the most common distracted driving habits is eating behind the wheel. In a study that The Zebra conducted in Jan. 2021, more than half of participants admitted to eating while driving. Only about 24% of respondents in that particular study admitted to texting and driving, while nearly 12% said they take photos behind the wheel.

The 3 types of distracted driving

Any time you are not paying attention to the road, you are engaging in distracted driving. However, experts say that there are actually three distinct categories of distracted driving. These categories are:

  • Manual
  • Visual
  • Cognitive

A manual distraction is anything that requires you to take your hands off the wheel, such as reaching for an item or physically manipulating a phone. A visual distraction takes your eyes off the road, including reading a text message or looking at other passengers. Cognitive distractions are harder to spot because even if your hands are on the wheel and you are looking at the road, you might be thinking about anything else but the task at hand. Daydreaming or thinking about a work problem are both cognitive distractions.

Does age matter?

Quickly responding to text messages is a priority for some people. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it does become a problem when drivers feel like they must respond even when they are driving. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 report feeling the most pressure to immediately reply to texts while driving. Perhaps not surprisingly, this age group is also involved in the most accidents.

Distracted driving has real-life consequences. After your own accident, you might be suffering from severe injuries, dealing with mounting medical bills and losing out on your regular paychecks. This can be quite a traumatic experience, although successfully securing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit can help you address these types of damages.