Unfortunately, we see it every day. We’re talking about distracted driving, which is defined as any kind of driving that takes your eyes off the road. Eating, adjusting the radio, talking to passengers, fixing make-up, and texting–these are distractions that lead to devastating accidents.
It’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a good time to remind drivers about the dangers of this careless act. Consider this – distracted driving accounted for more than 3,000 fatalities last year in the United States. That’s far too many lives taken, all because a driver decided to act carelessly.
Let’s take a look at the different types of distracted driving, distracted driving laws in our state, statistics related to distracted driving, and what to do if you should become involved in a distracted driving accident.
Types of Distracted Driving
More often than not, when we think of distracted driving, we picture someone who is texting while driving. However, there are many other distractions on the road that increase your risk of a car accident.
Distracted driving falls into three different categories – visual, auditory, and manual.
- Visual Distractions Visual distractions happen when drivers take their eyes off of the road even for a split second. When a driver turns to talk to a passenger, checks text messages or emails, that is a visual distraction. For a driver going 55 mph, sending or reading a text message is like driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed.
- Manual Distractions Manual distractions happen when a driver takes their hands off of the wheel. Actions like turning the stereo up or down, fixing make-up, or taking a sip of a drink or a bite of a sandwich are all examples of a manual distraction.
- Cognitive Distractions Cognitive distractions are when a driver loses focus and takes their mind off of driving. Cognitive distractions include sleepiness, extreme emotion, or daydreaming.
Distracted driving is preventable, making accidents and injuries frustrating. If you were in an accident with a distracted driver and were injured, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights after an accident. Before talking to the insurance company of the at-fault driver, you should speak to an attorney who can help you navigate the best path for success, if you should decide to pursue a personal injury case.
Pennsylvania’s Distracted Driving Law
According to Pennsylvania’s Distracted Driving Law, drivers are banned from texting while driving and it is considered a primary offense. A police officer can pull a driver over, solely for texting behind the wheel. The ban applies to all “Interactive Wireless Communication Devices” used to write, send, or read any text-based communication. This could include a wireless phone, smart phone, a digital assistant, a portable computer, or any device that can be used for texting, internet browsing, sending an email, or an instant message.
In the event of an accident, however, police don’t always take note if someone was texting at the time of the crash. A personal injury lawyer can, and will, reveal whether the at-fault driver of one of the vehicles was texting and driving.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Let’s start with teenagers, who are 5 to 6 times more likely to crash than adults when they are dialing or texting. Decision-making and impulse control in young adults develop well into their 20s as their brains mature fully. Inexperienced drivers already have a disadvantage on the roads, and when you add texting while driving to the mix, disaster can happen.
Here are some crash statistics among teen drivers.
- Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other age groups
- In 2019, almost 40% of teenagers reported texting or emailing while driving over the course of one month.
- Although 16 to 19-year-olds make up only 3.5% of licensed drivers, this age group accounts for 8.9% of drivers in crashes, and 6% of drivers involved in fatal crashes.
- Among distracted driver fatal crashes in 2019, a higher percentage of drivers ages 15-20 were distracted than drivers aged 21 and over.
- Young drivers with young passengers in the vehicle are at a greater risk of a car crash than teen drivers who are alone. The risk increases with each additional passenger.
- In 2019, 424,000 people (young and old) were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver
- About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle.
Car Accident Injury Law Firm in York, Pa.
At the law offices of Dale E. Anstine, we have been representing car accident victims in York County and the surrounding area for decades. Our team of personal injury lawyers understands the legal system and advocates for our clients to receive maximum compensation after an injury accident.
If you were injured in a car accident because of a distracted driver, reach out to us today to discuss your personal injury case. Your personal injury claim will help cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Don’t take on the insurance company by yourself. Contact us 24/7 on our website or call 717-846-0606 for a free consultation. We never charge a fee for our time and are only compensated when we win your case.