Driver Distraction

I recently reviewed a report entitled Driver Distraction: A Review of the Current State-of-Knowledge published in April by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This report looked at many studies having to do with Driver Distraction. With cell phones becoming so ubiquitous I was interested in how they affect driving performance. In fact a blog we posted yesterday about a bicyclist who suffered a serious spinal cord injury was caused by driver distraction.

The report cited studies that found that approximately 10.5 % of car accidents which were serious enough so that at least one car had to be towed away from the scene was due to a distracted driver. Another study found that distraction was a major factor in 33% of the crashes and 27% of near crashes.

What is Driver Distraction?

Driver distraction is anything that causes a driver to shift their attention away from the driving task, usually to the detriment of driving performance.

Driver distraction can be caused by every day activities including eating, smoking, changing radio stations, setting a GPS device and the usage of cell phones and text messaging.

seattle car accident attorneyStudies have broken distractions into several categories.

Inside the car distractions:

  • Purposeful — for example changing a radio station
  • Incidental — answering a phone or eating
  • Uncontrolled — examples are being distracted by a child, pet, sneezing or coughing.

People are often in the habit of performing purposeful secondary tasks and some might even be beneficial to help break boredom and to counteract fatigue.

External distractions:

  • Animals running in front of a vehicle
  • Weather conditions like a blinding sun
  • Oncoming headlights
  • Sirens
  • Advertising

Several laws have been enacted to prohibit text messaging while driving and to prohibit talking on the cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. Remember, though, it’s not just cell phones that can cause you to be distracted.

This information was brought to you by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer Blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured, or the families of those killed, in motor vehicle accidents due to the negligence of another person. We have more than 30 years experience in Bellevue, Washington. With our help, you may receive compensation for your damages including pain and suffering.

Contact The Farber Law Group today for a free case evaluation.

Read also, What if my accident was caused by someone using a cell phone?