The Disturbing Truth About Distracted Driving

Each year, thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers across the United States. To give you an idea of how many people were hurt in distracted driving accidents in the U.S. in 2013, the tally could fill up Florida’s three professional football stadiums more than twice. Despite a variety of campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that these types of crashes have increased 25 percent in the Sunshine State since 2012.

Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can be divided into three different types:

  • Visual distractions, either inside or outside your vehicle, cause you to take your eyes off the road.
  • Manual distractions cause you to take your hands off the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind off the road.

Some distractions can span all three categories, such as when a driver fumbles to answer a phone call and takes his or her hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.

Visual Distractions

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Texting
The average text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds, which is like driving blindfolded at 55 mph for the length of a football field.
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Children in the Vehicle
During an average 16-minute trip, a study has shown that parents with children in the car spend 3 minutes and 22 seconds not watching the road.
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Smoking
A smoker spends an average of 12 seconds with his or her eyes off the road, which is long enough to drive more than the length of two football fields at 55 mph.
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Rubbernecking and other distractions outside the vehicle
Rubbernecking has been reported to cause 16 percent of accidents, while in total, all outside-the-car distractions accounted for 35 percent.
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Weather
Anyone who lives in Florida knows how unpredictable our weather can be. Torrential downpours can impair drivers’ vision, and the wet pavement has been identified as a contributing factor in about 1.2 million traffic crashes every year.

Manual Distractions

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Talking on the phone
About 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving at any given moment during the day in the United States.
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Pets
About 65 percent of drivers with dogs in the car have been distracted by letting their pets sit in their laps, giving the dogs food or treats, playing with the dogs while driving, or just petting their pooches.
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Eating or Drinking
Eating while driving increases your likelihood of being involved in an accident by 80 percent. No snack is worth the risk of being injured or killed in an accident.
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Grooming
Taking your hands off the wheel to apply makeup or comb your hair can pose a serious crash risk. Helpful tip: Keep grooming items in the backseat or somewhere else out of reach so you can’t use them while driving.

Cognitive Distractions

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Drowsiness
Each year in the United States, 1,500 people die and 71,000 are hurt in drowsy driving crashes.

In Florida, the first week of September is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, in memory of an 8-year-old who was killed in 2008 by a drowsy driver.

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Alcohol/Drugs
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported about 25,000 crashes with confirmed or suspected ties to alcohol and drugs in 2014. Volusia County saw 1,658 DUI arrests made that same year.
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Daydreaming
Daydreaming accounted for 62 percent of distracted driving crashes in the United States in 2010 and 2011, a study documented.
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Passenger Distractions
According to a study of teen drivers, having two or more peer passengers in the vehicle more than triples the risk of a deadly crash.

Have You Been Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident?

The dedicated personal injury lawyers at Chiumento Selis Dwyer P.L. have been helping victims of car accidents in Ormond Beach, Volusia County and throughout the Palm Coast since 1973. We understand the devastating effects of distracted driving, and our experienced attorneys stand ready to represent victims and their families in pursuing the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to get started on your case.

Sources:

AAA: Pet Passenger Safety
AAA: Wet Weather Driving Tips
Decidetodrive.org: Eating While Driving
Decidetodrive.org: Grooming While Driving
Distraction.gov: Facts and Statistics
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Annual Uniform Traffic Citation Report
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Drowsy Driving is Dangerous Driving
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Inclement Weather Conditions
Journal of Transportation Technologies: The Impact of Rubbernecking on Urban Freeway Traffic

Distracted Driving Information & Guidance 
Medical Daily: Kids in Cars 12 Times More Distracting for Drivers than Talking on Cell Phones
Popular Mechanics: Just How Dangerous Is Daydreaming While Driving?
PubMed: Smoking While Driving and Its Consequences on Road Safety
TeenDriverSource.org: Passengers as Deadly Distractions – Peers and Older Teen Passengers

 

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