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Distracted driving is about more than just smartphones

| Jan 16, 2020 | Firm News

Driving is a task that requires all of your attention. Focusing on just one task may feel a little over the top for some drivers, especially in a world that seems filled with distractions and designed for multitasking. More and more people are normalizing distracted driving behaviors, which has serious and even life-threatening implications for everyone in New Jersey.

Distracted driving was a problem before cell phones even existed. At its most basic, distracted driving is anything that takes your full attention away from driving tasks, including watching out for other cars and the speed limit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration divides distracted driving into three different categories.

Distracted driving categories

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is manual, cognitive or visual. A manual distraction is anything that involves using your hands for anything other than holding the steering wheel, such as changing the radio volume. Cognitive distractions are much harder to spot than the other two. Drivers might look engaged with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, but in reality, they are too caught up in their own thoughts to pay attention to anything else.

Visual distractions are anything that takes drivers’ eyes off the road. For example, a parent looking at children sitting in the back is visually distracted; however, cellphone and smartphone use typically causes the most visual distractions these days.

Pet owners and parents are struggling

Information from the American Automobile Association found that 80% of drivers admit that they frequently drive while their pets are in the vehicle. However, only 17% say they restrain their pets. While 31% of those drivers say their pets distract them, with so many people driving with unrestrained pets, it is likely that the actual figure is much higher.

Parents are not doing so well, either. According to a study from The Zebra, 87% of parents who have younger children are regularly distracted. This is compared to 74% of adults with older kids or none at all.

Cell phones are still a big problem

It is difficult to address distracted driving without acknowledging smartphones and other hand-held devices. Only 16% of people with iPhones say they never use their phones while driving, and only 23% of people with Android phones say the same. Some iPhone users even admit to watching YouTube videos when they should be watching the road instead. Distracted driving injures approximately 1,000 people every day.

Maybe the driver who hit you was preoccupied with disciplining children or looking at his or her phone. Either way, you know firsthand just how serious distracted driving injuries can be. Although recovery may not be easy, you should consider how a personal injury suit could help. When you choose to file a personal injury lawsuit, you are taking proactive steps to address the financial, physical and emotional damages associated with your injuries. Since this can be a complicated process, you should be sure to work with an experienced attorney.