Driving a car used to mean getting from Point A to Point B in a faster, more efficient way. In the past, there was not much to a car other than the wheels and the engine, but as technology advanced over time, things like the radio, cassette players, CD players and even TVs were introduced into the vehicle.
Fast forward to today and we have cell phones, GPS devices, iPods and other seemingly harmless devices that drivers use in the car on an almost regular basis. On top of that, you could pull up to a stoplight and glance over to the car next to you to find someone reading the newspaper, eating breakfast or even applying makeup.
All of these advances in technology fall under cause of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. In addition, 391,000 people were injured by distracted driving and 660,000 people is the estimated number of drivers using electronic devices while driving during the day.
The NHTSA defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.”
Here is a list of the top ten cause of distracted driving today, in no particular order:
- Use of cellphone (talking or texting) – cellphones distract drivers in a number of ways and one of the biggest is texting. Answering the average text can take 5 seconds and while traveling at a speed of 55 mph means covering the length of a football field.
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls – from air conditioning to heat to a radio or CD player, there are plenty of things that might need adjusting while driving. Even turning away to adjust these for a moment can lead to a distracted driving accident.
- Using a GPS device – Nowadays some cars come equipped with a GPS and if they don’t drivers can purchase one to put in his or her car. While it may help get you where you’re going, it can often times be distracting trying to input addresses or reroutes.
- Other occupants in the car – carpooling has been a great way to get groups of people to the same place while saving on gas but passengers in the car can be distracting to the driver.
- Eating and/or drinking – it goes without saying that eating or drinking while driving can take a driver away from concentrating on the road, especially when you need a hand or both to do so.
- Apply makeup/grooming – sometimes you just don’t have the time to get completely ready before needing to hit the road. Putting on lipstick or applying deodorant while driving takes your hands off the wheel.
- Tending to children or pets in the car – loose pets in the car can become a distraction to drivers, especially when they move around from your lap to other seats and back to your lap. Children in the car can be just as distracting as they fight for your attention regardless of what your are doing.
- “Zoning Out” – the mind tends to wander, especially on long trips and zoning out has been a documented cause of distracted driving accidents
- Taking eyes off the road – sometimes there are things going on outside of the car that can be distracting. Whether it is another accident on the side of the road or a landmark that deserves a look, it can take your eyes off the road and lead to a collision.
- The act of reaching for a device in the car – on occasion, all it takes is the act of reaching for a cell phone or an iPod or GPS that results in an accident.
It is clear that there are many different causes for distracted driving. The one common thread though, is that all of the above causes relate to being comfortable while driving. Drivers may have texted and driven before without experience a negative consequence, leading them to continue doing it while driving.
Regardless, distracted driving is dangerous. It can lead to car accidents, injuries, pedestrian injuries, bicycle injuries or even death.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver in Alabama, you should seek out an experienced lawyer. The law offices of Salter Ferguson, LLC handle cases related to distracted driving, including car, truck, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Contact Salter Feguson, LLC for a consultation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.