Distracted drivers are a hazard on the road. Not only are they a danger to themselves, but they are also a danger to everyone else out there. Improvements in technology, particularly phones, have only created more opportunities for distraction while driving. A few seconds of taking one’s eyes off the road can be all it takes for a serious – potentially fatal – collision to occur.
Every day about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver (Source: Centers for Disease Control / CDC – Transportation Safety). Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving and almost always increases the chance of a motor vehicle crash.
In the Inland Empire, along the thousands of freeway miles including the 10, 91 and 15, drivers area becoming more addicted to their personal devices and a growing danger to themselves and others. With advances in vehicle technology and safety features, the number of fatalities caused by auto accidents in the United States should be reducing each year – when in fact, it is either staying the same, or rising.
What is considered distracted driving?
Distracted Driving is anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger you, your passengers and others on the road.
There are three main classifications of distraction, per the CDC:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
The problem with smartphones is the deadly combination of visual distraction, manual distraction and cognitive distraction – leaving the driver with little situational awareness or response time to safely avoid a collision.
On average, a person who looks at a text message takes his or her eyes off the road for five seconds. While traveling at only 45mph, a vehicle travels about 100 yards in that time. This means that looking at a text is the same as putting on a blindfold and driving on a freeway for the length of a football field. No reasonable person would do this, yet people look at their phones while driving all the time.
Most Common Distracted Driver Accidents Include:
- Single vehicle accidents: Like any other accident, distracted driving can result in a crash with stationary objects such as utility poles, trees, buildings and guard rails. Rollover accidents can also be caused by distracted driving.
- Lane-departure accidents: Distracted driving on busy multi-lane roads and highways can result in a lane-departure accident. This happens when a driver veers out of his or her lane and sideswipes a nearby car.
- Rear-end accidents: Distracted driving is often the culprit behind rear-end accidents, especially on busy roads when traffic jams up or suddenly comes to a stop.
- Head-on collisions: Drivers who take their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, run the risk of veering into oncoming traffic. They are especially susceptible of causing head-on collisions on windy roads with a lot of curves.
A Fatal Distraction
In the U.S. in 2018, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Within this group, 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2018 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle (Source: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812926).
How can I recover from being hit by a distracted driver?
Crashes caused by distracted drivers can be devastating, with serious property damage and major medical expenses for the victim. If you or someone you love has been hit by a distracted driver, call us at HarshLaw (909) 793-6261. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to talk about your options.