The Dangers Of Distracted Driving
We all know the dangers of drunk driving, and most of us would never do it. But we often do something that’s almost as bad as drunk driving when it comes to danger on the road: Distracted driving.
What is Distracted Driving?
It used to be that distracted driving was related to cellphones and the dangers inherent in playing with or looking at our phones. Millions of dollars have been spent on advertising campaigns, designed to get us to stop texting. But today, when our phones are GPS devices, and tell us where gas stations are, and they do 100 other things, we’re on our phone more and more.
Add the dangers of cell phone usage to the distractions built into our car: specifically, the large “infotainment” screen systems built into most cars nowadays. The radio, air conditioner, vital information about the vehicle, and satellite information, are all built into this single unit, which requires both your hand and your attention to operate.
Technically, even things like putting on makeup, or eating food while driving, are classified as “distracted driving.”
Add all of this to the difficulty that people who are elderly, or those who may be less technologically savvy may have using in-car technology or their phones, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Statistics Show Distracted Driving is a Problem
Distracted driving is a huge problem. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in 2018, 2,800 people were killed by distracted driving, and an incredible 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving related incidents. About 20% of those killed in distracted driving accidents were people outside the car—pedestrians or bicyclists.
The National Highway and Transportation Authority (NHTSA) estimates similar numbers for 2019, showing just over 3,000 deaths related to distracted driving.
These numbers are probably low, as it is hard to prove distracted driving. Unlike with DUI, where a breathalyzer or blood test can confirm the presence of alcohol or drugs, with distracted driving, there is often no way to tell what a driver was doing seconds before an accident.
The age group most likely to be distracted are young adults, aged 20-29. A 2019 study also showed high schoolers are at risk – 39% of surveyed high schoolers said that they had texted or emailed while driving. There was no difference between higher performing students (those who got high grades in school) and lower performing students.
It Doesn’t Take Long
You don’t have to be writing “War and Peace” on your phone to get into an accident. In fact, you don’t have to be writing anything — in the 5 seconds that it takes to check a text your car can go the length of a football field.
Remember that data in phones can be subpoenaed in a personal injury case. So if you’re playing on your phone while driving, be aware that someone will eventually find out.
Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC, for help if you are the victim of an accident because of distracted driving.