McArthur Law Firm

Distracted Driving, Part 3: It's Not Just Smartphones

driving-phone-coffee1.jpgStudies have shown that cell phone use, specifically texting while driving, makes you 23 times more likely to be in a car accident. But texting while driving is not the only culprit when it comes to distracted driving accidents. A study in 2013 found that even the touch screens built into your car carry an elevated risk of accidents, with an estimated 50 percent higher likelihood of causing a fatal pedestrian accident.

The study looked at data from the Second Strategic Highway Research Program, examining the causes of 1,600 different crashes where 905 were considered severe. In 90 percent of those accidents, at least one driver was distracted, fatigued or impaired.

Another 2015 study looked at the problems with teen distracted drivers. Using unobtrusive equipment, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute studied the driving behaviors of teens and found them not only texting while driving, but driving while putting on makeup, changing clothes and even doing homework.

Types of Distracted Driving

There are three main categories of distraction.

  • Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off the road.
  • Manual distractions occur when drivers take their hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive distractions occur when a driver's mind is not focused on driving.

The reason texting while driving is so dangerous is because it falls into all three categories.

Distracted driving is negligence. All drivers have a duty of care to behave in a safe and reasonable manner. By violating that duty of care, distracted drivers can be held liable for damages in a court of law.

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