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By now you are hopefully aware of the extreme and deadly dangers associated with distracted driving. Unfortunately, distracted driving continues to be a huge threat to U.S. drivers, with at least nine Americans dying every day due to the risky behavior. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we’re sharing the facts about distracted driving and debunking five common distracted driving myths. Read below to learn more.
1. If I’m not on my cell phone, it’s not distracted driving.
Wrong. While using your cell phone is certainly one of the most common types, there are many forms of distracted driving. There are three components of distracted driving: cognitive distraction (meaning your mind is occupied with something other than driving), visual distraction (where you are looking at something other than the road), and manual distraction (meaning your hands are not on the steering wheel). Cell phone use is particularly threatening because it involves all three components, but simple things like adjusting music on the dashboard, talking to passengers in your car, putting lipstick on, or even reaching for something that fell behind your seat all fall within the realm of distracted driving as well.
2. Multitasking is okay.
If you think you can multitask while driving, you are wrong. Multitasking is incredibly dangerous because you are alternating between cognitive functions, causing you to lose your focus on the road. When your brain is switching focus from one thing to the other, you tend to miss driving cues, your reaction time slows down, and you’re more likely to get into an accident.
3. Only young drivers have a distracted driving problem.
It is true drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to fall victim to distracted driving, but they are not the only ones. People of all ages are ticketed for distracted driving and experience distraction-related car accidents every single day.
4. Distracted driving isn’t as bad as drunk driving.
The sad fact is distracted driving can be just as life threatening as drunk driving. In 2015, there were more than 290,000 injuries caused by drunk drivers and 391,000 injuries caused by distracted driving – or 34% more injuries caused by distracted driving than drunk driving. While the actions are different, there are many similarities between the two. Both drunk and distracted driving cause a loss of focus on the road, and both have potentially fatal consequences.
5. If it’s hands-free, it’s safe.
Just because your hands are still on the wheel, it doesn’t mean you are any less distracted. Driving while using the hands-free talking or texting feature can still be dangerous and cause drivers to lose their focus on the road. Motorists who are on a phone call are far more likely to be unmindful of their surroundings. Many cities throughout the U.S. have even instituted a complete cell phone ban while driving, including using hands-free devices, for this very reason.
Distracted driving continues to be a common danger on U.S. roads, and the time for change is now. Throughout April, we will share more information on the dangers behind distracted driving, and ask that you spread the word and pledge to keep these facts in mind when you are driving as well.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver, we want to help. Please call the car accident attorneys at Adame Garza LLP for your free consultation today.