What Is Considered Distracted Driving?

texting while driving

Last year marked 10 years since California passed its “no texting and driving” laws. These laws were passed to reduce the risk of possible accidents associated with using a hand-held device and driving. While we have seen the number of cellphone-related accidents decrease, distracted driving in general continues to be a major safety concern in California. For many, driving is a daily and even mundane activity that does not seem to require much thought or consideration. Drivers become so accustomed to the habitual practices of driving that they often attempt to multitask behind the wheel.

Here are some startling stats showing just how dangerous distracted driving can be:

  • Distracted driving accounts for 25% of all car accident fatalities.

  • In 2017, there were 3,166 people killed in distracted driving accidents.

  • 21 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones.

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Taking 5 seconds to look down at your phone while going 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field totally blindfolded. Here are some common types of distractions while driving that could increase one’s risk of getting into an accident.

Three Types of Distractions

The Center for Disease Control identifies three types of distractions while driving:

  1. Cognitive distractions include anything that takes the driver’s mental attention away from driving.

  2. Manual distractions include anything that requires the driver to take their hands off the wheel.

  3. Visual distractions include anything that takes the driver’s eyes off of the road.

Texting while driving could meet the criteria for all of these distractions. In fact, texting while driving accounts for nearly 1 in 4 accidents.

Some other common acts of distracted driving include:

  • Texting/browsing a cellphone

  • Talking on the phone

  • Using a navigation system

  • Eating or drinking

  • Talking to other people in the vehicle

  • Turning on the radio or changing a CS

  • Brushing hair or grooming activities

What To Do if an Accident Occurs

While laws regarding cell phone use and driving seem clear, there will remain some gray areas regarding what constitutes distracted driving under the law in California. The fact of the matter is that accidents caused by distracted driving are totally preventable. No text or call is more important than your safety and the safety of those around you.

If you were injured by a distracted driver in California, make sure you obtain legal representation as soon as possible. The seasoned personal injury attorneys at Fowler | Helsel | Vogt will determine what actions or negligent acts caused the accident and help you pursue compensation for your physical and emotional wounds.

Contact our firm at (559) 900-1280 for a free case evaluation.

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