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Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving is not a new phenomenon. Driving while adjusting the volume on a radio or eating a cheeseburger has been a common cause of car accidents for many decades; however, since iPhone technology became the center of communication and entertainment in most lives, distracted driving accidents have outpaced drunk driving accidents as a major cause of preventable car accident fatalities. There were 3,308 fatal accidents and 289,310 injuries caused by distracted drivers in 2022.

Understanding Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as engaging in any activity that diverts attention from the driver’s primary task of operating the vehicle and watching the roadway. Today, smartphones are by far the most common cause of driver distraction. In the five seconds it takes to read an average text message, a car moving at 55 miles per hour travels the length of a football field—all with the driver’s eyes off the road. Common causes of distracted driving accidents include the following:

  • Texting
  • Selecting playlists or podcasts
  • Setting cell phone GPS
  • Checking social media notifications
  • Checking emails
  • Scrolling through social media
  • Watching videos
  • Taking selfie photos or videos

In addition to cell phone distractions, distracted driving includes eating, applying makeup, retrieving dropped items, adjusting a sound system, or interacting with children in the back seat. Some experts also consider deep daydreaming a form of distracted driving as well.

Startling Distracted Driving Statistics

Most survey respondents state that they’re frequently angered by seeing other drivers texting and driving, yet they also admit to engaging in distracted driving themselves. Most drivers believe they can safely respond to a text message while behind the wheel, yet distracted driving accidents continue to rise in numbers. The following startling statistics reveal the growing problem:

  • The distracted driving accident rate is three times higher among teen drivers than among those over the age of 20
  • About 58% of teen crashes result from distracted driving
  • 621 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed by distracted drivers in 2022
  • Between 2020 and 2022 the amount of time drivers spent on their phones increased by 23%
  • Experts estimated distracted driving costs in 2019 (the most recent data) reached $98 billion

Even more startling, the NHTSA believes distracted driving accidents are largely underreported because it’s not always possible to prove a distraction as the cause of an accident.

Types of Distracted Driving

According to traffic safety experts, drunk driving falls into three categories, manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distracted driving occurs when a driver removes one or both hands from the wheel, such as when retrieving a dropped pair of sunglasses. Visual distractions occur when the driver removes their eyes from the road to focus on something inside the vehicle. Cognitive distractions take place when the driver’s mind is on something other than the task of driving. Texting and driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it combines all three elements of distracted driving.

Have You Been Injured by a Distracted Driver? Call A Georgia Car Accident Attorney

When a driver texts, checks their social media notifications or engages in other driving distractions and causes an accident, they are liable for the damages to injury victims. Damages typically include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. A car accident lawyer in Atlanta can investigate, compile evidence, and make a compelling case for full compensation.

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