Three Big Types of Accident-Causing Driving Distractions and How You Can Avoid Having Them
Driving distractions have become increasingly prevalent in our modern, fast-paced world. With the rise of smartphones and other digital devices, drivers are more likely to engage in behaviors that take their attention away from the road. It is no surprise, then, that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents today. Let Arash Law, founded by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., fight for your right to compensation when injured in a California car accident.
Distracted Driving Crashes Kill Nine People Daily in the United States
Roughly nine people are killed in car accidents in the United States every day that are reported to involve a distracted driver. While we tend to first think of texting while driving, many other types of distractions can cause accidents. Being aware of these risks is essential to stay safe on the road.
At Arash Law, we understand the importance of preventing accidents and keeping our roads safe for our families. That’s why we have put together this article to discuss the three main types of accident-causing driving distractions and how to avoid them. As we explore each type of distraction, we will provide examples, offer distraction prevention tips, and discuss how states and the federal government are addressing the issue. Finally, we will offer advice on what to do if you’ve suffered an injury in an accident involving a distracted driver.
What Is Distracted Driving?
While we all understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt, driving sober, and following traffic laws, most people do not remain 100 percent focused on the road at all times while driving. But what constitutes “distracted driving?” Technically speaking, distracted driving refers to any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving, such as using a cell phone, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio, managing a GPS, or any other behavior that causes a driver to lose focus on the road.
With the greatest offender – our smartphones – literally at our fingertips every minute of the day, distracted driving is becoming remarkably common. As a firm that has been operating for decades, our personal injury attorneys at Arash Law, managed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., frequently hear accounts of distracted driving incidents. You may be entitled to significant compensation if a distracted driver has hurt you or a loved one. Contact Arash Law, one of California’s leading injury law firms, to learn how we can help you win your case.
Types of Distraction
A multitude of different activities and behaviors while driving can lead to distraction. Most of these fall into at least one of three main categories.
- Visual – Visual distraction occurs when a driver takes their eyes off the road. For example, looking at a smartphone, other people in the vehicle, or at one’s reflection in a mirror are all visual distractions.
- Manual – Manual distraction occurs when a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel. Examples of manual distraction include eating or drinking, changing the radio station, or managing a navigation system.
- Cognitive – Cognitive distraction occurs when a driver takes their mind off driving. Daydreaming, conversing with other passengers, and talking on the phone are all examples of cognitive distractions.
Some types of distractions can fall into a combination, or all, of the categories listed above. For instance, sending a text message can be considered a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction, as it requires drivers to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the steering wheel while also breaking their concentration from the task of driving.
Who Is the Most At-Risk for Distracted Driving?
Any driver can become distracted while driving, but some groups are at a higher risk than others. Those who frequently use their phones for work and those with a history of traffic violations may be more likely to drive while distracted. However, young drivers are most at risk for distracted driving, as they have less experience on the road and may be more prone to engage in risky behaviors such as texting while driving.
A 2020 CDC report revealed that:
- Around 25 percent of distracted drivers in fatal car accidents are young adults in their twenties.
- Among drivers involved in fatal crashes, teenage drivers are more likely to be distracted than drivers over 20.
- Texting or emailing while driving is common among all high school students, regardless of grades or academic performance.
- Texting or emailing while driving is more common among older teens than younger teens.
- 39 percent of high school students who drive sent at least one text or email while driving over 30 days.
- Students who text or email while driving are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as not wearing a seatbelt, driving while under the influence of alcohol, or riding with another driver who has been drinking.
While the youngest drivers among us are at the greatest risk for distracted driving, other factors such as fatigue, stress, and driving in heavy traffic can increase a driver’s chance of becoming distracted. These conditions can make it harder to focus on the road, as our brains become much more easily distracted when bored, under-rested, or stressed. However, it’s important to take the necessary steps to address these issues before getting behind the wheel to keep ourselves, our passengers, and others on the road safe.
Who Are the Victims of Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving can have devastating consequences for the driver and their passengers and others on or near the road. According to statistics, pedestrians, cyclists, and other individuals not inside a vehicle are at significant risk of being killed or injured in accidents caused by distracted driving. In 2018, approximately 20 percent of those killed in distracted driving accidents were non-occupants. These individuals are particularly vulnerable as they have no protection against distracted drivers who may not see them in time to avoid a collision.
Accidents resulting from distracted driving can have severe and long-lasting effects on victims in their families. Injuries in these types of accidents can range from minor, surface-level wounds to more serious injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain damage. Victims may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation and may even be unable to return to work or carry out their normal daily activities. If you or someone you know was involved in a distracted driving accident, you might be dealing with significant financial burdens. Under the guidance of Arash Khorsandi, Esq., Arash Law has helped countless accident victims recover what they’ve lost and more; we are standing by to help you claim the damages you are owed.
The Most Common Types of Wrecks Caused by Distracted Driving
Car wrecks resulting from distracted driving can range from minor to severe. Unfortunately, even minor accidents can cause significant physical and emotional harm to those involved. Some of the most common types of accidents involving a distracted driver include:
- Rear-end collisions – Distracted drivers are more likely to miss changes in traffic patterns, such as sudden stops, and may end up rear-ending the vehicle in front of them.
- Intersection accidents – When drivers are distracted, they may fail to notice red lights or stop signs, causing T-bone collisions or other types of accidents.
- Lane drift accidents – Drivers not paying attention may drift out of their lane and collide with another vehicle or object, such as a guardrail.
- Head-on collisions – Distracted drivers may drift across the centerline into oncoming traffic, leading to severe head-on collisions.
- Pedestrian accidents – Distracted drivers are likelier to fail to stop pedestrians, resulting in serious injuries or death.
- Failure to yield accidents – When drivers are distracted, they may fail to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and cyclists, potentially leading to devastating collisions.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a growing issue, especially for young drivers, resulting in thousands of accidents and fatalities yearly. However, the good news is that we can all take steps to prevent distracted driving and help keep our roads safe for everyone.
What Can Drivers Do?
- Don’t multitask while driving – Multitasking is one of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents. If you need to adjust your mirrors, eat, make a phone call, or send an email, do so before or after your trip. If you must use a device while driving, use hands-free technology and voice commands to avoid taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel.
- Use cell phone blocking technology – Certain apps can be installed on a cell phone to prevent distractions caused by phone calls, text messages, and app notifications. This technology is designed to limit or completely block the use of a particular device while a person is driving.
- Prioritize mental and physical well-being – Because drivers who are stressed or sleep-deprived are more likely to become distracted, addressing these issues becomes a matter of safety. Be sure to get good quality sleep, manage your stress levels, and avoid driving if you are too tired or stressed to do so safely.
What Can Passengers Do?
- Speak up – If you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver, ask them to focus on driving. Many drivers may not even be aware that they are distracted, so directing their attention back to the road can effectively prevent distracted driving accidents.
- Reduce distractions – While riding in a vehicle, try to help your driver stay focused by minimizing conversation. It’s also a good idea to assist with navigation and music selection tasks so your driver won’t need to multitask.
- Offer to drive – If your driver is tired, distracted, or physically or emotionally unwell, it may be best to insist on taking over driving responsibilities. Sometimes, a short break from driving is all a driver needs to regain their focus.
What Parents Can Do
- Talk to your children – If you have a teenage or young adult driver in the family, make sure they understand the laws and responsibilities involved in driving. It can also help to share stories and statistics about distracted driving accidents.
- Set rules and consequences – Establish clear rules for your children, such as no texting, calling, or eating while driving. Ensure your children know the consequences of breaking these rules, such as losing driving privileges.
- Set a good example – Parents should lead by example and model safe driving habits for their children. Avoid any behavior that distracts you from driving, especially with your children.
What Is Being Done to Address Distracted Driving?
With distracted driving accidents on the rise, lawmakers have already taken steps to address the issue on both the state and federal levels. In 2009, President Obama issued an executive order to prohibit texting while driving among federal employees to set an example for the general population. Many states have enacted laws to help prevent distracted driving, including bans on texting while driving, implementation of hands-free laws, and limiting the number of young passengers who can ride with teen drivers.
Certain types of distracted driving have been made illegal in California. Specifically, it is unlawful to use a handheld cell phone or electronic device while driving, except in certain circumstances. Under California law, drivers may only use devices that are hands-free, such as voice commands and speaker-phone functionality. Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone for any reason. Drivers violating these laws may face fines and other penalties, such as driver’s license points. Additionally, distracted driving violations may result in higher insurance premiums.
Contact Arash Law Today
When it comes to distracted driving accidents, the legal landscape of these incidents is complex and continues to shift each year. At Arash Law, managed by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., we stay up-to-date on changes in the law and can help you determine whether you can file a distracted driving accident claim. With over $400 million recovered, we have decades of experience building airtight cases and winning maximum payouts for our clients. Call the California accident attorneys at Arash Law today at (888) 488-1391 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California.