Distracted driving is a major risk for drivers and passengers in Florida. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 10 people die every day as a result of distracted driving, and more than 1,000 suffer accident-related injuries. Sadly, while the risks of distracted driving are well-known, drivers continue to talk and text behind the wheel, and innocent victims continue to suffer unnecessary and avoidable injuries.
Risk Factors Associated with Distracted Driving
There are a variety of risk factors associated with distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, each of the following can be an indicator that a driver is distracted behind the wheel:
- Driving into oncoming or crossing traffic
- Failing to maintain a consistent speed
- Failing to maintain lane control
- Failing to signal before turning or merging
- Making abrupt and illegal turns
- Responding slowly to traffic signals
- Looking down instead of looking at the road
All of these factors increase the risk that a driver will cause an accident; and, since distracted drivers are not looking at the road, they are not in a position to avoid a collision when they put other motorists in harm’s way.
Four Types of Driving Distractions
The NHTSA divides driving distractions into four categories: visual, manual, cognitive and combination.
- Visual Distraction – A visual distraction is anything that takes a driver’s eyes off of the road. Visual distractions can exist inside and outside of the vehicle, and even a visual distraction that lasts a few seconds is enough to cause a serious accident.
- Manual Distraction – A manual distraction is one that results in a driver taking his or her hands off of the wheel. “Some common examples of manual distraction include eating and drinking in the car, adjusting the GPS, audio controls, climate controls, or trying to retrieve an object from a purse or wallet. . . . Smoking also represents a source of manual distraction.”
- Cognitive Distraction – A cognitive distraction is one that takes the driver’s mind off of the task at hand. Talking to passengers can create a cognitive distraction, and even thinking about personal, professional or financial problems can impair a driver’s ability to stay focused on the road.
- Combination Distractions – The most dangerous distractions are known as “combination distractions.” These are ones that involve visual, manual and cognitive impairments. Cell phone use – including talking, texting and using social media – is the most-common form of combination distraction, and it has quickly become a leading cause of accidents in Florida and nationwide.
Distracted driving is negligent driving, and motorists who are seriously injured by distracted drivers deserve to collect full and fair compensation for their accident-related losses. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, or if you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one, you should consider speaking with an attorney to learn about your legal rights.
Speak With a Florida Car Accident Lawyer at Searcy Denney
If you have questions or concerns, contact a Florida personal injury law firm that represents victims of serious motor vehicle collisions. If you have been injured or lost a loved one and would like to speak with an attorney, you can call (800) 780-8607 or contact us online for a free consultation.