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What are the most common driver distractions?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2020 | Car Accidents |

Over the past decade or so, smartphone distraction has been a growing problem. People not only use their phones to talk and text, but they also use them to email, get driving directions, take photos and videos and even surf the internet. You know you shouldn’t do things like that behind the wheel, but other drivers? Unfortunately, smartphone distraction is all-too-common.

That said, research shows us that smartphones are not the only thing on the road that is distracting. The potential distractions are legion, and it takes discipline and mindfulness to avoid them. There’s eating behind the wheel. There’s fiddling with the music. People groom themselves behind the wheel, discipline their children or rubberneck when passing a crash scene.

Indeed, according to one study, the most common distraction involved in fatal car crashes was “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” Other common ones included:

  • Cellphone use – 14% of drivers involved in fatal crashes
  • People, objects or events outside the vehicle – 6% of drivers involved in fatal crashes
  • Other occupants of the vehicle – 5% of drivers involved in fatal crashes
  • Reaching for devices such as headphones or navigation devices – 2% of drivers involved in fatal crashes

The insurance analysts who performed the study considered over 172,000 people who were killed in crashes over the past five years. They determined that at least one in 10 crashes involved someone who was distracted.

Who is driving distracted? Don’t they know it’s dangerous?

According to the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, it’s not just young people who are distracted by technology. According to their distracted driving poll, 77% of American drivers admit they make or take calls when driving. Another 44% admit texting or emailing behind the wheel.

As a result, many respondents either got into accidents or near-misses. Thirty-one percent of the respondents said they had nearly missed a collision and 9% said they had actually been in a collision due to distracted driving.

According to AAA, nearly all drivers (96.8%) understand that texting or emailing behind the wheel is a serious danger. Nevertheless, 44.9% said they had read a text message or email while driving in the previous 30 days.

Why are they continuing to drive distracted? In the 2018 Travelers Risk Index, 61% said they were concerned there might be an emergency. Another 23% said they were afraid of missing something. And, while Travelers found that 85% of respondents knew using technology while driving was risky, 25% of those who engaged in it anyway did so because they believed they could do it safely.

Have you been injured by a distracted driver?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are an estimated 420 fatal crashes every year due to cellphone distraction alone. That only accounts for 14% of all distracted-driving related crashes, but 450 people die, on average, each year due to cellphone distraction.

If you have been in an accident, there is a substantial chance the other driver was driving distracted. If they were, they should be held responsible for their negligent actions. Discuss your case with an attorney experienced in motor vehicle accident cases.