Man driving car

What is Distracted Driving?

This may sound like a silly question, but distracted driving is not a laughing matter. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents, and we can all do more to prevent accidents if we simply take the time to acknowledge this phenomenon and make better choices. 

While an Arkansas car accident attorney can help you pursue compensation if you’ve been hurt in a collision caused by distracted driving, ideally, drivers will eliminate the bad habits that lead to distracted driving and prevent these accidents. Let’s learn a little about what distracted driving is and how a person can easily avoid it.

Types of Distracted Driving

Drivers may be distracted by just about anything that diverts their attention from the act of driving and keeping an eye on the road ahead. Distractions may cause drivers to take their hands off the wheel, look away from the road, or simply fail to pay attention.

Taking Hands Off the Steering Wheel

When a driver is eating, drinking, or smoking, at least one hand may be off the steering wheel. Reaching down to pick up something that falls or rolls off of a car seat is another distraction that may cause a driver to remove his or her hands from the wheel. While none of these activities is necessarily illegal, drivers that aren’t careful in these situations may negligently injure another person.  

Taking Eyes Off the Road

Some people perform grooming activities while driving and barely manage to glance at the road ahead. We’ve all seen this happen, and probably everyone agrees that grooming while driving is a no-no. But some other seemingly harmless activities can be just as dangerous. For example, some drivers spend too much time looking at their passengers. Some drivers look down at their cell phones while driving. Far and away, drivers that text are some of the most distracted and dangerous drivers. Not only is texting while driving extremely dangerous, it is prohibited by law.   

Taking the Driver’s Mind Off of the Act of Driving

When driving alone, the simple act of daydreaming about winning the lottery or some other fantasy can take a driver’s mind off of the act of driving. When accompanied by passengers or talking on the phone, heated discussions or arguments can be distracting to a driver. 

Regardless of the nature of the distraction, when a driver loses focus, it takes time for the mind to shift back into gear, notice what is happening on the road, and to react. There is science behind this reaction-time phenomenon, and drivers should be aware.  

Statistics on Distracted Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3,142 people lost their lives in 2019 in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Here is a breakdown by age bracket:

  • 686 distracted drivers were between the ages of 25 and 34 years of age.
  • 531 were between 35 and 44 years old.
  • 392 were between 45 and 54 years old.
  • 344 were the youngest drivers, 15 to 20 years old.

The remaining groups included 315 distracted drivers between age 55 and 64; 297 drivers between 21 and 24; 208 drivers between 65 and 74; and 184 drivers 75 years old and older.

How States Try to Reduce Distracted Driving  

All over the United States, state legislatures have passed regulations designed to prevent distracted driving. Some of those measures include:

  • Requiring drivers to use hands-free devices, rather than hand-held cell phones when driving
  • Bans on texting while behind the wheel (texting and driving is illegal in Arkansas)
  • Limiting the number of passengers that can be in the car with young drivers
  • Using high-visibility enforcement of distracted driving laws

All considered, common sense is key. If drivers focus on the task of driving, distracted driving accidents can be avoided. An Arkansas personal injury attorney can help you pursue the compensation you deserve if you’ve been hurt in a distracted driving car accident. For help with your case, get in touch with our office today. We offer a free consultation.