Texting, distractions and driver negligence

Navigating California roadways can be tedious and hazardous at times, especially in heavy traffic situations. It is critical that all drivers keep their focus on the road to minimize the risk of a deadly car accident. Yet, motorists continue to use cellphones to text, email and post to social media sites while they are driving.

Distracted driving is responsible for killing 2,841 people and injuring over 400,000 in 2018 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately eight people die in distracted driving car accidents every day.

Knowing the types of distractions

Distractions fall into three main categories, which include the following:

  • Manual: tasks that require drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel
  • Visual: tasks that require drivers to take their eyes off the road
  • Cognitive: tasks that remove drivers’ concentration off of the road

Some activities, such as manipulating a cellphone, involve all three types of distractions.

When drivers text, snap selfies or compose an email, they must remove their hands from the wheel, take their eyes off the road and focus on their phones. Other driver distractions include switching radio stations, talking with other passengers in the car, eating and even using voice-activated technology.

Distracted drivers are less likely to respond to hazardous situations, such as bad weather conditions, items in the road, pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers.

Knowing what to do

Drivers should always avoid using their cellphones and engaging in other distractions while behind the wheel. Some apps help motorists avoid answering texts or using their phones.

Because studies show that hands-free devices can act as a significant cognitive distraction, drivers should avoid these as well. Those who continue to engage in activities that diminish their focus put others’ lives in danger.

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