Three Types of Driver Distractions & How Smartphones Come Into Play
Everyone knows instinctively that distracted driving is dangerous. Yet thousands of drivers across the country will engage in some form of distraction every hour. Indeed, most people who choose to distract themselves while driving do so by picking up their smartphones, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined is likely the most hazardous distraction of them all.
According to CDC research, there are three types of driver distraction:
- Cognitive: A form of distraction that removes the driver’s thoughts and attention away from the task of driving. Effectively, every distracting behavior or event will be cognitive to some extent. The National Safety Council (NSC) has determined through its own studies that cognitive distraction lingers for 30 to 60 seconds after the source of the distraction is dismissed. For example, someone who reads a text message behind the wheel will still be thinking about what they read for at least half a minute after they put their phone down.
- Visual: A form of distraction that takes the driver’s eyes off the road and mirrors for any amount of time. Looking at a text message displaces the driver’s visual attention for five seconds on average. Traveling at highway speeds, it will take five seconds or less to traverse the length of an entire football field. Any number of car accidents could feasibly occur during that time.
- Manual: A form of distraction that removes the driver’s hands away from the wheel, as well as the gear shift or clutch in a manual transmission vehicle. Picking up a smartphone to read a text message will dramatically reduce the driver’s control over the vehicle during that time. If a text message is written, the driver will lose all immediate control of their car as both hands type on the emulated keyboard.
Cellphone use behind the wheel is so incredibly dangerous because it engages all three forms of driver distraction at once. The simple act of checking or sending a text message puts the driver, any passengers, and all other motorists on the road in serious danger of a crash. The NSC also warns that hands-free devices do not help reduce driver distraction, so you should think twice before trying to send a text via Bluetooth or another wireless device in your car.
Legal Representation for the Wrongfully Injured
Florida has made it strictly illegal to send a text message while driving, but this does not stop the majority of drivers from doing so. The illegality of the action also does not necessarily increase your chances of winning compensation from the liable party after being in a distracted driving accident. The best way to improve your odds of filing a successful claim is teaming up with a trustworthy and experienced car accident lawyer.
The Pittman Firm, P.A. is led by Florida personal injury Attorney Wes Pittman, who has more than three decades’ worth of legal experience focused on helping the wrongfully injured. If you have been blindsided by a distracted driver and need compensation beyond what your personal insurance protection (PIP) insurance will pay you, then it is time to contact his firm. You can call (850) 784-6997 to request a free initial consultation.