As reliance on technology has become increasingly ingrained in people’s lifestyle DNA, constant multitasking has also become the norm for many. However, when a person is behind the wheel, focusing on multiple tasks at once can be a life-threatening choice.
Distractions while driving are not limited to cell phone use – and not by a long shot. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as any activity that could inhibit the driver from focusing on the primary task of driving. Eating and drinking as well as grooming and adjusting the radio are just a few actions that also take attention away from the road.
Text messaging has received a spotlight in the national conversation about distracted driving because to text requires all three types of distraction – visual, manual, and cognitive. To compose and send a single text takes an average of five seconds – that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded if a driver is traveling at 55 mph.
Breaking the Law
Regardless of the type of distraction, drivers who divide their attention from the road are not only putting themselves at risk for a vehicle crash, but they are also endangering all other motorists nearby. To combat the temptation to multitask while driving, many states in the U.S. have imposed some kind of distracted driving laws, often with fines. In the State of Pennsylvania, for example, all drivers are prohibited from sending, reading, or writing text messages while driving. As a primary law, a police officer can pull drivers over in Pennsylvania without witnessing another moving violation and give them a ticket for texting while driving.
Injuries and Deaths Caused by Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has become a nationwide epidemic in the U.S. In fact, more than 3,000 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014. These heartbreaking statistics represent life-altering physical and emotional pain caused by preventable accidents. Had those drivers focused their attention solely on the road, the deaths and injuries would have likely never occurred.
Nothing can change what happened when a person is killed or catastrophically injured in an accident involving distracted driving, but victims may have grounds to hold responsible drivers accountable for their carelessness on the road. Filing an injury claim after a distracted driving-related car crash can help those who were harmed and their families seek justice and compensation for the damage caused.