Many people think of texting when the subject of distracted driving comes up, but the definition is much broader than that. Driving distraction breaks down into three main types, any one of which could be the cause of a serious, if not deadly, vehicle crash.
Distract driving causes tragedies every day
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of nine people die and 1,000 sustain injuries every day of the year in vehicle crashes related to distracted driving. Any type of multi-tasking where you split your attention between driving and something else constitutes distracted driving.
The CDC identifies three types of distracted driving:
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel of the vehicle
- Visual — looking away from the road ahead
- Cognitive — preoccupied by things other than driving
Examples of the different driving distractions
Examples of manual distraction include dialing your cellphone, texting or surfing the internet, eating and drinking, combing your hair or shaving, reading, adjusting the radio or programming your GPS system.
Visual distraction can be especially dangerous. Simply put, as a driver, you must constantly look where you are going and scan the roadway. But there are plenty of distractions that can cause you to take your eyes off the road—and a devastating accident can happen in mere seconds. Talking to a passenger, reaching for something or “gawking” at emergency vehicles are common visual distractions.
Cognitive distraction is dangerous because your brain can only process so much information at any one time. If multi-tasking, you can create a type of brain overload. Studies show that even a hands-free phone conversation while driving is distracting — and the more emotionally charged the conversation the more the driver’s focus is diminished.
Texting while driving is an especially risky activity (and illegal in all 48 states) because it involves all three types of distraction. But any of these distractions can cause or contribute to a personal injury crash.
Along with countless distracted drivers, Florida roads and highways have millions of vehicles. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates that distracted driving is a factor in 58% of all traffic fatalities and injuries in our state.
You may be an excellent driver. However, you cannot know what other motorists are doing at any given moment. You can only be attentive and alert for an emergency situation to develop because someone is texting, eating fast food or fiddling with the radio. If you should become a victim, explore your legal options and know you are entitled to full and fair compensation for any injuries you may suffer.