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What is distracted driving?


As last week's blog discussed, distracted driving is a serious concern which can lead to car accidents. As a society, we are improving our understanding of what distracted driving is and the dangerous impact it can have. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics reveal that nine victims are killed each day in the United States in car accidents that are reported to involve a distracted driver. In addition, more than 1,153 victims are injured each day in the United States in car accidents that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

So what is distracted driving? Distracted driving includes a variety of dangerous behaviors drivers may engage in while on the roadways. In the most basic sense, distracted driving occurs when drivers engage in activities while driving that remove their focus and attention from the task of driving. There are three categories of distracted driving: visual distractions that remove the driver's eyes from the roadway; manual distractions that cause the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel of the vehicle; and cognitive distractions that cause a driver's attention, focus and mind to be removed from the task of driving.

Distracted driving can include being preoccupied with passengers, eating, grooming, playing with the radio or operating a navigational device or cell phone. Texting and driving is considered a particularly serious form of distracted driving because it combines all three types of distracted driving, visual, manual and cognitive distraction.

Distracted driving can increase the chances of a car accident. During 2011, nearly 20 percent of car accidents which resulted in injury involved distracted driving. A total of 421,000 victims suffered injuries in car accidents that involved distracted driving in 2012 which was an increase from 387,000 victims injured in distracted-driving related car accidents in 2011. More than 3,000 victims were killed in both 2011 and 2012 in car accidents involving distracted driving.

Oklahoma City victims of car accidents, and their families, can suffer extensive damages following a car accident. But, as is true of victims of all car accidents, victims of distracted driving-related car accidents have legal rights to consider to help with the consequences of the negligence of a distracted driver.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving," accessed March 10, 2015

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