In the year 2015 alone, 3,477 Americans died and 391,000 suffered injuries as a result of a wreck with a distracted driver. That is according to a report on distracted driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than 500 of the crash victims were not even in vehicles at the time—they were pedestrians, bicyclists, and others. This data just counts fatal and injury crashes reported as involving distracted drivers. Experts suggest that the actual numbers are far higher.
Distracted driving can be anything that takes your focus away from operating your vehicle. Talking and texting on cell phones is well-known as one of the most common types of distracted driving, but interacting with the navigation system on your phone or the onboard system of your car also takes your attention away from the road. Eating, drinking, smoking, talking with your passengers, arguing, or adjusting the stereo can also lead to crashes.
If you were in a wreck with a distracted driver, you may have legal options for recovering compensation. Contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, at 404-474-0804 today for help.
How Prevalent Is Cell Phone Use in Crashes and Fatalities?
According to the 2015 data from the NHTSA, 456 drivers in distraction-affected fatal crashes were on their cell phones, in conversations, or otherwise handling the devices at the moment of impact. Because of driver cell phone use, 476 people died. More than half of all drivers using cell phones at the time of a fatal crash were between the ages of 20 and 39.
The 10 Most Dangerous Distractions on the Road
According to an analysis of police report data, some common distractions are responsible for many fatal wrecks each year. Here are the 10 most dangerous distractions for U.S. drivers.
Simply Not Paying Attention
Whether you are daydreaming or just “in a fog,” thinking about other things is the number-one worst activity you can do behind the wheel. This behavior caused fatal wrecks for 62 percent of distracted drivers.
Talking on or Using a Cell Phone
Texting, talking, dialing, or listening to their cell phones distracted 12 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents.
Seven percent of distracted drivers in fatal crashes were staring at things outside of their cars, like people or other wrecks.
There is a valid reason many states restrict passengers in cars with young, new drivers. Five percent of distracted drivers in fatal collisions were interacting with their passengers at the time of impact.
Non-Cell Phone Devices
Two percent of distraction-affected fatal accidents involved drivers who were either using or reaching for gadgets they brought into the vehicle, such as headphones or a GPS device.
Eating or Drinking
Eating or drinking while driving carries a risk of an accident. Two percent of distracted drivers were drinking or eating when their fatal crash occurred.
Adjusting Climate Control or Music
Another 2 percent of distracted drivers in fatal wrecks were either changing the temperature controls, the radio station, or volume at the time of the collision.
Shifting Mirrors, Seats, and Other Vehicle Components
Although you might not think that adjusting your side or rear view mirrors would be on the list of dangerous things to do when behind the wheel, toying with them takes your attention away from operating your vehicle and watching the traffic around you. Adjusting mirrors, seats, or using the built-in navigation system caused one percent of fatal crashes.
If you have a pet moving around inside the car or a bee flies in through an open window, you might take your eyes off the task at hand. Pets, insects, or other moving objects inside the vehicle distracted one percent of drivers in fatal car accidents.
Smoking activities also account for on percent of fatal crashes with distracted drivers. This category includes lighting a cigarette, smoking, and dealing with the ashes.