Distracted driving is all around us, and unfortunately isn’t always reported as a factor in a crash. It doesn’t always have to include the use of cell phones and infotainment systems – despite technology playing a major role in distraction.
According to Psychology Today, distracted driving has always been a major factor in traffic accidents, even before the advent of handheld devices. Even without technology, it can involve any “shift in driver concentration toward a secondary task, leading to a deviation of attention from driving.”
Psychology Today divides distraction into three categories:
- Visual distractions: Any distraction that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road is especially dangerous. Visual distractions could include drivers turning their heads to look elsewhere, focusing their attention on dashboard features, or looking at handheld devices.
- Manual distractions: Even when drivers’ eyes are on the road, any task that involves taking their hands off the wheel can result in a loss of vehicle control. This can include adjusting a radio, eating, opening a glove compartment, or manually handling a cell phone.
- Cognitive distractions: Even when drivers’ eyes are on the road and hands on the wheel, their minds could be elsewhere. Cognitive distractions are often attributed to drowsy driving, daydreaming, or highway hypnosis (when a route becomes so familiar, drivers don’t think about where they’re traveling).
Kansas officials take action
While we may not be able to address all forms of distracted driving, we can at least start with the most prevalent form in today’s world – texting and driving.
KSNK reports that in April, AAA Kansas launched a new initiative called “Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexicated.” Their aim is to prevent statewide traffic accidents caused by cell phone distractions behind the wheel.
According to a March survey by AAA Kansas, about 97 percent of Kansas drivers believe that texting and driving poses a serious safety threat. On the other hand, about 90 percent of respondents admitted to texting and/or reading texts behind the wheel.
State traffic safety officials offer simple ways distracted driving crashes can be prevented. Drivers should:
- Avoid temptation by keeping mobile devices out of sight
- Program navigation systems before driving
- Pull over somewhere safe when making a call or sending a text
- If passengers are available, ask them for help
Even those who aren’t behind the wheel should avoid calling or texting others who may be driving. Passengers should speak out or offer help if they see a driver engaging in distracted behavior.
What you can do
If you’re involved in a crash with a distracted driver, it’s critical to understand the legal options available to you. An experienced car accident attorney at Bretz & Young Injury Lawyers will investigate the cause of your crash and work tirelessly to recover damages on your behalf.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation, free of charge.