Risks of distracted driving persist with crashes, deaths and injuries
Distracted driving whether from smartphone use, cranking tunes, or just dwelling on what to make for dinner continues to cause crashes and leave law enforcement officials searching for solutions.
Whatever the cause of the distraction, the consequences for drivers can be serious — deaths, injuries and property damage, according to Psychology Today story.
Most accidents and near-crashes in the United States can be attributed to distracted driving. Recent studies showed that one out of every six fatal crashes in the U.S. could be linked to distracted driving.
The bad news is that despite the headline-shouting dangers of texting and other smartphone use while driving, awareness doesn't seem to have much impact on driving behavior.
Distracted driving, a risk factor for younger drivers
The risks of distracted driving remain prevalent, especially for younger drivers, who have been found to account for 21 percent of all texting-and-driving-related crashes.
A clinical definition of distracted driving could be phrased as a “shift in driving concentration toward a secondary task, leading to a deviation of attention from driving.”
The ability to pay attention to important things and ignore the rest is key in helping people build relationships, learn and work. Therefore, distractions can exert a powerful hold on the mind.
The distractions that can impact safe driving can be divided into three categories:
- Visual distractions This is where something happens to cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. Such distractions can include turning to look at a passenger or to read a street sign, reading the name of a song on an audio system or checking a smartphone placed beside a driver in a vehicle.
- Manual distractions These are distractions that cause a driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel. Examples include adjusting the radio or picking up a phone.
- Cognitive distractions These distractions can occur whenever a driver is no longer focused on the task of driving. Causes can include drowsiness or preoccupation with an upcoming event.
It surprises probably no one that the proliferation of smartphones has become a major contributor to distracted driving. Drivers of all ages have come to depend on them for GPS navigation, music and appointment reminders, along with, of course, communicating with family, friends and work.
The risks of distracted driving and specifically the risks of using a smartphone while driving have yet to persuade younger drivers to abstain.
Factors associated with using smartphones while driving are:
- Attitude towards phones: Despite being aware of the risks of phone use while driving, many young drivers rely on the devices to stay in touch with family and friends and to maintain a social media presence. This often causes them to view the advantages of phone use as outweighing potential dangers.
- Gender: Phone use appears to be equally divided between males and females but in studies women have reported sending shorter texts than men. The behavior of men driving and using phones seem to show they are confident in their ability to drive safely even while texting.
- Peer or parents influences: Seeing parents or friends texting and using phones while behind the wheel can lead to unsafe driving habits for young people.
Contact Fraser & Souweidane Personal Injury Lawyers today for help with cases involving the risks of distracted driving or for help with accidents or personal injury cases. We're on your side.