At any given daylight moment in America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or texting with their electronic devices while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But these are not the only forms of distracted driving.
The distracted driving lawyers of Gemma Law Associates, Inc., know that a wide range of different distractions can lead to car accidents in Providence and elsewhere in Rhode Island.
Types of Distracted Driving
Texting while driving – Composing, sending or reading a text message on a cell phone or similar device while behind the wheel involves visual, manual and cognitive activity. Texting while driving is the most dangerous of the common forms of distracted driving.
Talking on cell phones – Cell phone use was indicated as a contributing factor in 12 percent of the 3,331 fatal accidents attributed to distracted driving in 2011, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Several studies have found that even the distraction of using a hands-free cell phone poses a safety risk.
Eating and drinking – The NHTSA says nearly half of all drivers (49 percent) in a survey of 4,010 drivers age 16 or older reported eating or drinking at least occasionally while driving. Fourteen percent said they do so on three-quarters or more of their driving trips. Eating or drinking requires taking at least one hand off of the steering wheel.
Dealing with passengers – Drivers who deal with children in the rear seats (nearly 24 percent of drivers, according to the NHTSA) are distracted. This behavior is especially distracting if the driver actually turns around to adjust the occupants, pick up a lost toy or offer food. Simply talking to others in the car, which the NHTSA says occurs in 56 percent of all car trips, takes a driver’s mind off of the road ahead.
Dealing with pets – Animals can also be a dangerous distraction if they are not caged or restrained. The AAA Traffic Safety Foundation said 29 percent of those participating in a survey admitted being distracted by their dog while driving. Also, 52 percent said they had petted their dog, and four percent said they had played with their dog while driving.
Grooming – Combing or brushing hair, applying makeup or other grooming happens on about 8 percent of all car trips and is three times more likely to occur among female drivers, according to the NHTSA.
Reading – About 4 percent of drivers in the NHTSA’s distracted driving survey reported reading printed material (book, newspaper or mail) while driving, but drivers said they looked at maps or directions during 10 percent of all trips.
Adjusting a radio, CD player, MP3 player – Keeping entertained while driving is one of the most frequent distractions we engage in. The NHTSA says drivers reported changing the radio station or looking for CDs or tapes at least once in 45 percent of all car trips.
Looking outside of the vehicle – The NHTSA says that 23 percent of drivers who had been in a distraction-related crash reported looking at something outside of the car unrelated to driving, like a building or billboard. “Rubbernecking,” or straining to look at something like a car crash, leads to many fender-benders and more serious accidents.
Our Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys Serve Providence and Rhode Island
If you have suffered a serious personal injury or lost a family member in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, you should speak with a lawyer from Gemma Law Associates, Inc., right away. You may be eligible for compensation for your auto damage, medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
We assist distracted driving accident victims and their families from across Rhode Island and from out of state if they were injured in Rhode Island. Simply use our online form or call us today to schedule a free consultation.