Disturbing Trends of Distracted Drivers

by Ieda Vincent on March 10, 2013

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Everyone likes to think that they’re a safe driver. Even those who engage in risky behaviors often believe that they’re able to do so simply because they’re such a good driver. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the case. Auto insurance statistics show that on average, a person will need to file an accident claim every 17.9 years, so it’s obvious that most people will eventually be in a wreck. Distracted driving, however, definitely increases this likelihood. This makes it imperative for everyone on the road to understand the risks related to this kind of behavior and how to prevent them.


Statistics related to inattentive driving are disheartening. Numbers from 2010 showed that, of all vehicular crashes, 18 percent were attributable to those who were not paying attention. Younger drivers are at an even higher risk; about 11 percent of all fatal collisions involving drivers under the age of 20 were caused by not paying attention. This isn’t, however, strictly a problem of youthful inexperience. In 2011, 3,300 people of all ages were killed due to this; the act left nearly another 400,000 injured. A Virginia auto accident lawyer states, “This distracted driver did not intend to cause serious harm to anyone, but his or her careless action–choosing to pay attention to the cell phone rather than the road–caused an auto accident that creates tremendous physical, emotional, and financial hardship for the injured accident victim.”
Types of Distraction

There are numerous types of distracting activities that lead to wrecks. It’s important for every driver to know about these and how to avoid disasters related to them.

A. Rubbernecking:

Rubbernecking refers to the act of slowing down and staring at something (i.e. another wreck) while operating a vehicle. A 2003 study showed this to be responsible for 16 percent of all incidents caused by inattentive driving. The smartest thing to do to avoid these situations is to have a “nothing to see here” attitude.

B. GPS Systems:

GPS systems are viewed as a great invention, but they can actually lead to mishaps. In Manalapan, NJ, for instance, a driver following GPS instructions made an illegal turn that resulted in a four-car crash. Getting a talking device is imperative to be able to still pay attention to street signs and the road.

C. Construction Zones:

Construction zones often prove to be a very distracting occurrence that can lead to wrecks. Unfortunately, these often end badly for construction workers. In 2009, for instance, 116 road workers were killed when crashes occurred in work zones. Whether these were caused by the distracting array of signs and barrels or by negligence of others, however, isn’t reported.
These actions and instances definitely aren’t the only types of inattentive driving. From texting to chatting, the number of distracting behaviors is likely innumerable.

Preventing Fender Benders

Other than those already mentioned above, there are numerous ways to prevent distracted accidents. One of the most obvious ways is to avoid cell phone use. Texts and calls shouldn’t be answered; they can later be returned at a more convenient time. When taking a call is necessary, a hands-free device should be used, and in case of hazardous conditions, cell use should be completely avoided.

Eating and other multitasking behaviors should also always be avoided. A person may think that they’re safe while doing this, but there’s no doubt that it provides a distraction and will impede someone’s otherwise quick reflexes. It’s also a good idea to limit how many people are in a vehicle. Excessive passengers can be very distracting, and this is why new drivers are often forbidden to drive their friends around.

Unfortunately, following these behaviors cannot stop all unfocused incidents since we cannot prevent others on the road from acting negligently. The only thing that can be done, sadly enough, is finding a qualified attorney after the incident. This will not only ensure that someone doesn’t have to cover their own medical bills caused by another driver’s neglectful act, but it will also hopefully show the careless driver some of the repercussions, albeit relatively minor ones, of distracted driving.

There’s no doubt that not paying attention on the road is one of the most dangerous behaviors a person can engage in. These actions have led to far too many tragedies. It’s imperative for every person to refrain from any type of distraction, and if they’re injured due to another driver’s negligence, it’s important to hold them legally responsible in the hopes that they will end their destructive behavior. Only when people start to take the threat of unsafe driving seriously will any positive noticeable effect occur in the accident statistics.

Ieda Vincent enjoys writing about legal issues and offers this as a reminder to stay focused whenever behind the wheel. The Virginia auto accident lawyer team of Price Benowitz LLP will hold those caught driving recklessly liable if they cause injury or harm. They are insightful and understand the monetary strain another person’s negligence can cause and will persistently fight for what you are due.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/guruscotty/1496804687/


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