Despite active campaigns targeting distracted driving, we still see people talking, texting, and even applying makeup while driving (yes, indeed!). Every time someone engages in these behaviors, they place the well-being of others at their mercy.
Staying focused is hard. I know my three beautiful children have caused me to temporarily lose focus on many occasions. But distracted driving is serious business. Distraction.gov reports that distracted driving was involved in 10% of all fatalities nationwide in 2014, and over 430,000 more people were injured as a result of this dangerous behavior.
We often think of distracted driving as involving handheld cell phone use and texting. However, a recent Erie Insurance survey reported many different types of distractions, including the following:
- Romantic encounters;
- Changing clothes;
- Brushing teeth;
- Taking selfies;
- Changing drivers; and
- Going to the bathroom.
Other distractions include eating, reading, and watching videos while driving.
In truth, distracted driving is any activity that takes the driver’s attention from the task of driving, including cognitive, visual, and manual distractions. For example, after dialing is complete, hand-free cell phone use removes both visual and manual distractions; however, the cognitive distraction remains.
A National Safety Council review of research concluded that, contrary to popular belief, “ands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving . . . they do not eliminate cognitive distraction.” The essence of the problem is that the human brain suffers when it is asked to accomplish two cognitive tasks at the same time, such as carrying on a conversation and driving. As the NSC notes, this is different than walking and chewing gum because only one of those tasks, navigating safely, is cognitive in nature.
The risk of error and horrific damages are too high to engage in or tolerate distracted driving. No distraction is worth inflicting pain, suffering, and even death.
We each play an important part in eliminating unnecessary suffering, though our own individual accountability. The NHTSA offers a distracted driving pledge and pledge card for free here.
If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of a careless distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. We understand the physical and emotional burden that accidents cause, and we will help guide you to a favorable resolution of your case. For a free case evaluation, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Wright Pichon & Gray.