What You Should Know About the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Car Accident Lawyer

Distracted driving is becoming more prevalent and increasingly deadly. Distracted driving means doing anything other than paying undivided attention to the road while you are behind the wheel. That could include talking to passengers, eating, putting on makeup, searching for something, or using your phone. Even though it is a widespread occurrence, listening intently to a podcast or singing along to your favorite song can be distracting if you forget that your main focus is the road and the surrounding vehicles. The dangers of distracted driving could result in accidents, damage to vehicles or property, injuries or even death.

What Are the Most Common Distractions?

Each day, at least nine people die in an accident caused by a distracted driver. The most common offense is cell phone use or texting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting takes your eyes off the road for at least five seconds. That represents the equivalent of driving down a football field at 55 miles per hour with your eyes closed. Unfortunately, most people are driving much faster than that while texting.

The next most frequent distractions that cause accidents after cell phone use are:

  • Drinking or eating
  • Daydreaming
  • Passengers
  • Looking at driving directions 
  • People, places or things outside the vehicle
  • Smoking
  • Adjusting the sound system, heater or air conditioner

Who Are the Most Common Offenders?

Younger drivers are most at risk for distracted driving. Inexperience and cell phone use are significant contributors. The Federal Communications Commission states that a National Occupant Protection Use Survey showed that 16-24-year-old drivers used handheld cell phones while driving more than any other age group. The NTTSA  warns that drivers under the age of 20 represent the group with the highest incidence of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving.

What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?

Unfortunately, this question has many answers. As a very generic answer, the ultimate penalty could be your life or that of your passengers, pedestrians, bikers or the occupants of other vehicles. As for the legal penalties, the laws vary from state to state. There could be secondary legal impacts, like wrongful death lawsuits brought by families of victims or personal injury actions from surviving victims.

If you have been a victim of distracted driving or if you were involved in an accident due to distracted driving, consult a car accident lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, like from Ward & Ward Law Firm, today. They can help you understand your rights and next steps.