Mounting evidence collected from accident reports shows a link between distracted drivers and accidents. Distractions include eating behind the wheel, texting, checking email, looking at a navigation device and talking on mobile devices.
Figures published by U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention indicate that distracted driving contributes to car crashes. Looking at accident reports that cite distracting driving as a cause, the CDC found that at least 9 people are killed every day throughout the United States. In addition, 1,153 people are hurt daily in distracted driver accidents.
The CDC breaks distractions into 3 types: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual means that the driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel. Visual distractions draw the driver’s eyes off the road. Cognitive distractions cause the driver to think about something other than what is happening on the road.
Although some people believe it is safer to talk on a hands-free device because they can keep their hands and eyes engaged in driving, cognitive distraction still occurs under such circumstances. Research cited by the U.S. Department of Transportation finds that visual and audio warnings can still be missed when the driver is engaged in a phone conversation with a hands-free device.
Because distraction hazards are becoming well known, an accident report citing driver distraction as a cause could provide evidence of negligence. When a person is injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, he or she might be able to make a personal injury claim. Consulting with an attorney might help the person learn what types of compensation he or she might recover in a lawsuit, depending on the facts of the case.