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The dangers of distracted driving

In Pennsylvania, distracted driving problems have substantially increased over the past two decades as more and more people have purchased smartphones. While texting has been a factor in the increase in distracted driving accidents, smartphones are not the only contributor to these types of collisions. Any activity that forces you to take your attention away from the road can cause an accident.

Why is distracted driving dangerous?

Several different types of attention are involved when you drive, including manual, cognitive, and visual attention. You visually attend to the act of driving by keeping your eyes focused on the road so that you can see any impending dangers in time to react. Cognitive attention is likewise important. If you daydream or focus your attention elsewhere, you might limit your ability to perceive dangers and to react in time to avoid motor vehicle accidents. Manual attention involves keeping your hands on the wheel so that you can swerve to miss dangers if necessary. When you text while driving, all three types of attention are taking away from the road. Glancing down at your smartphone to read incoming text messages and compose responses means that your hands, eyes, and mind are all taken away from the road. People who text can travel the length of a football field when driving at 55 mph in a few seconds while their eyes and attention are focused elsewhere.

Distracted driving statistics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an estimated 400,000 people were injured and 2,800 people were killed in distracted driving collisions in 2018. Drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 had the highest risk of being involved in these types of accidents, and 9% of teens who were killed in accidents were engaged in distracting activities at the time.

Driving while distracted increases the risks of injuries and deaths for both the drivers and those who are traveling on the roads around them. People should never engage in activities that take their attention away from the road while driving, including texting, talking, eating, adjusting electronics, looking at maps, or other similar activities. People who are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers may want to talk to experienced personal injury attorneys to learn about their legal options.