Types of Driver Distraction in Car Accident Cases

Being involved in a car crash is never an ideal situation that a person would like to be in. Unfortunately, many people will be involved in at least one motor vehicle collision over their entire lifetime. If you were injured in a crash, it is very important for you to evaluate the situation and determine what may have caused this serious collision. Whether the accident was a side-impact crash (T-Bone collision), a head-on accident, or a rear-end collision, determining whether a distracted driver was the cause of the accident can be the source to financial recovery.

What is driver distraction and why is this action considered to be so dangerous? All throughout the country, distracted driving causes many auto accidents and claims many lives each year. In fact, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 3,000 people were fatally injured in accidents caused by distracted driving. There are three different categories that each individual type of distraction falls under, including manual, visual and cognitive distractions. These categories are not mutually exclusive in the sense that some interferences with driving may fall under one, two or all three categories. The three categories are defined as follows:

Manual Distractions: These involve taking your hands off of the wheel. A person can engage in a multitude of actions that can constitute manual distractions, including texting, eating, grooming, changing the radio station, smoking, using a navigation system, and more. Even taking the hands off of the wheel for a split second can have catastrophic consequences should the vehicle travel over a speed bump, pothole, or another type of road block. When a person takes his or her hands off of the wheel, the driver, passengers, and others on the road are immediately at risk to be involved in an accident. If a driver is unable to maintain control of his or her vehicle due to having one or no hands on the wheel, an accident may be inevitable.

Visual Distractions: These disruptions in driving can be extremely dangerous because they involve taking your eyes off of the wheel. Whether you are reading a text message or looking in a mirror, this action is very dangerous. The U.S. DOT estimates that taking the eyes off of the wheel for 4.6 seconds at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving an entire football field with a blindfold on. Other forms of visual distraction can include watching a video, looking at passengers, or even looking at a nearby traffic collision while continuing motion.

Cognitive Distractions: This is one that involves taking your mind away from what you are currently doing. When a driver falls asleep at the wheel, day dreams, or even drives while intoxicated, he or she is engaging in a cognitive distraction. Texting or talking on the phone can constitute a cognitive disturbance during driving because a person must devote attention to the message being sent.

The U.S. DOT predicts that a person is 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision if they are driving while texting. Although 35 states have prohibited the use of text messaging while driving, many people are still doing so and causing serious collisions as a result. Because texting and driving is considered to be a manual, visual and cognitive distraction, it is one of the most dangerous and lethal types of driving impairments in the country. If you or someone you love has been involved in any type of accident, it is very important to talk to an attorney to determine if some form of driver distraction has led to the accident. The government works hard on promoting safe driving techniques, and has even declared April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While many accidents are unavoidable, those that are caused due to driver distractions can be avoided by following the rules of the road and refraining from engaging in any type of visual, manual or cognitive distraction. For more information about auto accidents, distracted driving, and filing a claim for an accident you have been involved in, contact your local car accident attorney.