When you hear the phrase “distracted driving,” what comes to mind? Do you picture a teenager in the driver’s seat with one hand on the wheel and the other on a cell phone typing out a text message? Over the last decade or so, texting while driving has become synonymous with distracted driving, and states all over the country, including Connecticut, have enacted laws to prohibit sending and receiving messages while driving. There are, however, countless other ways for a driver to be distracted and, while many of them are perfectly legal, a distracted driver is always dangerous, as even a single moment’s inattention can lead to a serious car accident.
According to estimates from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one out of every five injury-causing auto accidents in the United States involves at least one distracted driver. While one in five may not sound like very many, this number equates to an average of 1,160 injuries and eight fatalities every single day as a result of distracted driving accidents. Recent studies show that more than 90 percent of drivers realize the dangers of distracted driving, yet the statistics suggest that millions continue to ignore the risks behind the wheel.
Three Types of Distractions
Any time a driver participates in a non-driving activity while operating a vehicle is an instance of distracted driving, and there are three primary types of such distractions. Visual distractions draw the driver’s eyes away from the road and may include checking a GPS device or looking for an item in the car. The second type, or manual distractions, take the driver’s hands off the steering wheel and include eating, applying makeup, or adjusting the radio. The third type, or cognitive distractions, include anything that attracts the driver’s mental focus away from the road such as talking with a passenger or daydreaming.
Sending a text message combines all three types of distractions. To send a single message—even a simple reply—a driving must take his or her attention away from driving, look at his or her phone, and use at least one hand to type. Even if the driver is only distracted for five seconds, five seconds at highway speeds is long enough for the vehicle to travel the length of a football field, which is plenty of time and distance for something tragic to occur while the driver is preoccupied.
Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident?
If you have been hurt in an accident involving a distracted driver, it is important for you to understand your rights and options for collecting compensation. Contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Call [[phone1]] for a free confidential consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC, today. Our knowledgeable team is ready to help you as you try to put your life back together.