Were you injured in a car accident by a distracted driver? Many victims have no idea if the person who caused the crash was distracted at the time the collision occurred. After all, distractions only require a second of a motorist’s attention for critical driving moments to be missed, and with potentially deadly outcomes. Most victims are surprised at the distance a vehicle can cover in a matter of seconds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a vehicle traveling 55 mph will cover the length of a football field in about five seconds. This is more than enough time for countless driving distractions to divert attention and allow a motorist to take their eyes off the road and/or hands off the wheel, as well as their mind off maintaining safe control of their vehicle.
Four Types of Driver Distractions
Although you may not think that you drive distracted, it would be almost impossible for you to avoid the many distractions that are constantly fighting for your attention. Unfortunately, cell phones are not the only distractions that compete for a driver’s attention. Consider how these culprits also make safety behind the wheel more challenging:
- Visual Distractions – Looking at anything other than the road ahead is a visual distraction. This can include another person in your car, a digital billboard, a notepad on the passenger’s seat, or even looking at your rearview mirror.
- Manual Distractions – Trying to manually manipulate anything other than the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake is a manual distraction. These can include using a cell phone, hairbrush, laptop, or dealing with an unrestricted pet.
- Mental Distractions – Mental distractions happen anytime you take your mind off driving. Focusing on a conversation, replaying a moment at work, mentally going over your “to do” list, or disciplining a child in the back seat can cause a cognitive distraction.
- Auditory Distractions – Voice activated on-board communication technologies, hands-free electronic devices, the radio or a CD player, and even that funny noise your engine makes, are all types of auditory distractions that can cause an unexpected accident.
The Florida Department of Transportation has identified driver distractions as a rapidly growing problem that includes the use of handheld communications and other on-board communication technologies. Although legal discussions often center around cell phones and texting, distracted driving includes anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the vital task of safely operating their vehicle.
Role of a Timely Accident Scene Investigation
According to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the public perceives distracted driving as dangerous, but there is a stark contrast between their beliefs and their self-reported behaviors behind the wheel. For any victim of a vehicular accident today, the real question is to what extent was a distraction a contributing factor to your personal injuries. Unfortunately, the driver who caused the collision may not admit fault and the law enforcement officials investigating the accident may not be able to discern the role that a distraction had in causing serious injuries and property damages. Therefore, it is crucial for you to seek the advice of legal counsel as soon as possible following an accident with injuries. A reputable personal injury law firm has the experience and resources to recreate the accident scene before valuable evidence is lost as well as to ask the right questions regarding the cause of an incident. If you or a loved one were injured by a distracted driver, contact Schackow & Mercadante to speak directly with a personal injury lawyer regarding your personal injury claim.
NOTE: Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 2,841 lives in 2018 alone. Among those killed: 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists.