Certainly you have seen the public service announcements and warnings on the roadway not to text and drive. Put down that cell phone while you’re driving. Cell phones can obviously create a dangerous distraction, often resulting in serious injuries or even death. But cell phones are not the only driving distraction that most of us are guilty of succumbing to. What about that hamburger or cup of coffee?
What is “Distracted Driving?”
The legal definition of “distracted driving” is “[a]ny activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving.” There are basically three forms of distraction that have an adverse impact on a person’s ability to drive safely: visual, manual and cognitive.
Eating is a Distraction on All Levels
A visual distraction is something that causes you to take your eyes off the road. A manual distraction causes you to take your hands off the steering wheel. A cognitive distraction occurs when your focus is not directly on the act of driving, such as when your mind is on something else. As human beings, distractions are inevitable and cannot be avoided altogether. However, eating while driving significantly impacts all three categories of distraction — visual, manual and cognitive.
Is Distracted Driving Really a Problem?
Yes, distracted driving is a serious problem. According to government statistics, more than 400,000 people were injured by distracted drivers in 2013 as a result of motor vehicle crashes. What’s worse, more than 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
Recognizing Driver Distractions
You may have been involved in an auto accident and expected to see the other driver with a cell phone in his hand, but instead he had fast food or a cup of Starbucks coffee. This is still an important detail to report to your personal injury attorney. Unfortunately, many clients fail to recognize eating as a type of distracted driving because it is so common. However, the reality is eating is a dangerous distraction, as well.
If you have questions regarding distracted driving, or any other personal injury matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at Means Gillis Law, PC, either online or by calling toll free at 1-844-870-1777.