In 2013, there were approximately 424,000 accident-related injuries around the country caused by distracted driving. Furthermore, there were 3,154 fatalities caused by distracted driving accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, it is believed that the actual numbers may be higher than reported. Distracted driving comes in three forms, and they may all increase the likelihood of an accident.
Cognitive distraction takes place when a driver is thinking about something other than the road while driving. In some cases, a driver can experience cognitive distraction even while doing something as simple as listening to the radio. Visual distraction occurs when drivers are looking at anything other than the road ahead. For instance, a driver could be glancing at a GPS or putting in a new CD to listen to. Manual distraction occurs when the driver is holding anything other than the steering wheel with both hands.
Common examples of manual distraction include using a phone to send or receive text messages. Eating, drinking or putting on makeup may also be examples of manual distraction. Drivers are encouraged to put their cell phones away while driving, and those who absolutely need a phone while driving should get a hands-free device. However, even hands-free devices may increase the risk of an accident, so they should only be used in emergency situations.
Those who are hurt by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Examples of negligent driving may include texting while operating a motor vehicle or looking away from the road for any reason. An attorney may look for these and other types of evidence in an effort to prove that negligence played a role in an accident.