Distracted driving is a dangerous activity because it removes a person’s focus while operating a machine that is thousands of pounds. Due to the increasing concern over this action, distracted drivers may be subject to civil liability and criminal reprimand.
Types of Distracted Driving
While many people believe that “distracted driving” is synonymous with “texting while driving,” distracted driving can take many forms other than texting while driving. Distractions are often categorized by distractions that remove a person’s hands from the wheel, their eyes or their attention.
Distractions that remove a person’s hands from the wheel include conducting grooming while driving, eating, drinking, reading, adjusting dials in the vehicle, inputting information into a GPS system and any other action that removes the driver’s hands from the wheel. These activities can be dangerous because the driver has less time to move the steering wheel if a danger arises. Many of these same activities may also remove the driver’s eyes from the roadway. Drivers may look at a map, read directions, fiddle with a device or otherwise move their eyes away from the roadway. A common distraction for such drivers is other people in the vehicle whom the driver looks at or interacts with while driving.
Generally, the more senses that a task requires, the more distracting and dangerous it is. This is why texting or using a cell phone while driving is perceived as particularly dangerous. This action usually requires the person to remove his or her hands from the wheel, look at the device and have his or her mental focus on the text.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the website distraction.gov, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating other electronic devices during any daylight hour. In many accidents, a few seconds makes a significant impact on the accident and whether one even occurs. On average, texting takes a typical driver’s eyes away from the roadway for between four and five seconds.
In 2011, national estimates showed that over 3,300 people died in accidents that involved distracted drivers. In all of the fatal accidents involving drivers under the age of 20, 11 percent reported they were distracted. In comparison, 21 percent of drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 admitted they were distracted by cell phones. The number of youth deaths caused by distracted driving is greater than such deaths involving drinking and driving.
Most states have responded to the seriousness of distracted driving by passing laws that prohibit texting while driving, using cell phones while driving or participating in other forms of distracted driving. A person who violates such laws may be subject to fines. Additionally, those causing wrecks because of their distractions may be subject to criminal charges if the accident caused a serious injury or death. Despite such laws, many students report that they continue to text while drive even when they live in states that criminalize the act.
Source: https://www.hg.org – Law Articles – Legal articles written by lawyers discussing aspects related to industries, businesses and individuals.
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