Statistics and Facts about the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving causes thousands of accidents every year. Focus, attention, coordination, and split second decision making are all necessary for safe driving. When distractions impair these skills, a driver is much more likely to be involved in an accident.
One major distraction which is gaining increasing attention is texting while driving. Texting and driving is dangerous and is the cause of hundreds of crashes every year. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reported research that shows if you are driving your car at 55 mph and then take your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds to read a text message, that is the equivalent of traveling an entire football field blindfolded.
While people are capable of multitasking in their daily lives, focusing on anything but driving when behind the wheel can have deadly results. Distracted driving is defined as anything that could divert the drivers focus away from the essential task of driving. Distracted driving not only puts the driver at risk, but also anyone in their vehicle or on the road at the same time. Distracted driving includes but is not limited to:
- Conversing with passengers
- Changing music settings
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Dialing, answering or talking on a cell phone
- Putting on lipstick, fixing your hair, applying make-up, or shaving
- Reading or sending text messages
Distracted driving has effects similar to those of drinking and driving. A study by Monash University showed that people who are using a hand held phone are four times as likely to be in an accident than those who are not. Another study at University of Utah demonstrated that using a cell phone lowers a person’s reaction time to that of someone with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.
420,000 people were either killed or injured in distracted related driving accidents in 2010. Due to the increase in cell phone related accidents states nationwide are passing laws that prohibit cell phone use. The biggest problem facing distracted driving is public perception. Everybody knows that drinking inhibits your ability to drive, but few people will admit or realize the powerful effect distractions can have on someone’s ability to drive responsibly. The best way to minimize distraction related incidents is to educate people about the dangers of driving while distracted.
About the Author: Chris Guedri has been a personal injury attorney for over 30 years. He has handled catastrophic injury and death cases involving car wrecks and tractor trailer accidents across Virginia and the United States. He is a partner with the Virginia personal injury law firm of Allen & Allen. Christopher Guedri is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and listed in the publication Best Lawyers in America. He is a Fellow in the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers, selected excellence in practicing law.