Distracted driving is becoming an increasing problem on the road, but you may wonder, “What is distracted driving?” Driving while distracted can lead to a ticket in some situations, and in many cases, it can cause a motor vehicle accident. Learn more from Etengoff Pak Law Group. If you are injured, call us today at (360) 693-2919.
Defining Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is paying attention to something other than driving while a driver is in control of a car. While many people think of texting while driving, it may also include:
- Eating while driving
- Messing with the radio or climate controls
- Talking to passengers in the car
- Yelling at misbehaving children
- Putting on makeup
- Using a GPS
- Watching a movie
- Handling pets
- Staring at something outside of the vehicle
All of these activities can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle and crash into you or an object near the road.
Types of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies distracted driving into three categories.
Manual distractions are those that take hands away from driving. This includes fidgeting with objects, reaching for things, and holding anything other than the steering wheel.
Visual distractions are those that take eyes away from the road. This may include looking at text messages, turning to deal with children, or looking down at the radio controls. The NHTSA reported that when a driver takes eyes off the road for five seconds while driving at 55 miles per hour, they travel the length of a football field. If a car in front of them stops suddenly, they would certainly crash into them.
Cognitive distractions are those that take the mind away from driving. This may include a conversation on a phone or with a passenger. It can also involve a dispute with a child or other passenger. Even a hands-free phone call can cause a cognitive distraction.
Some activities involve multiple types of distractions, thereby increasing the chances of having an accident.
Distracted Driving is Negligence
Most personal injury cases, including motor vehicle crashes, are based on negligence. Negligence is the theory that a person had a duty, did not uphold that duty, caused harm, and damages were the result.
Distracted driving is negligence because drivers have a duty to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner and abide by all laws. All states require that drivers pay attention while driving and use safe driving practices. Driving while distracted is not safe. Thus, it breeches a driver’s duty to be safe, causes harm to property and other drivers, and often results in financial damages.
In most states, a police officer can pull over someone who is swerving and showing other signs of distracted driving. A driver may also get a ticket for distracted driving because it is failing to safely operate a vehicle.
Proving Distracted Driving
When someone wrecks into your car, it can be difficult to prove distracted driving. It may be necessary to gather phone records, interview witnesses, and collect dash cam footage, if available.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney for Help
Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous. If you were the victim of a car accident and wonder “What is distracted driving?” and “How might distracted driving impact my case?” you should call us today. You can reach us at (360) 693-2919.