You’re driving down the road and come to a red light. You look over and see the driver to your right is reading a book. Yes, reading a book. It may seem like an exaggeration, but in 2016, a Minnesota driver was cited for reading a book while driving.
Distracted driving claimed the lives of more than 3,400 people in the U.S. in 2015. Another 391,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. In Florida, more than 39,000 crashes caused by distracted drivers led to accident injuries while hundreds of thousands caused property damage. The number of accidents caused by distracted drivers has remained steady since 2014 despite consistent warnings about the dangers of driving while distracted.
What is Distracted Driving and What Are Some Causes?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention anyway from the task at hand. This can include visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Different states have different distracted driving laws; Florida law prohibits texting while driving, but many drivers still text behind the wheel and are distracted in other ways.
Talking on the Phone
Talking on the phone, according to a 2006 study, is just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Even if you’re using a hands-free device to talk on the phone, it could be distracting you and increasing the risk of an accident.
Eating While Driving
Whether it’s on the way to work or on the long commute home, it’s easy to grab some quick food and start eating while driving. You might need to rethink that multitasking strategy. Studies have shown that eating while driving also increases the risk of an accident.
The risk passengers pose on teen drivers is somewhat well-known. However, an Australian study found that children are 12 times more distracting to a driver, usually their parent, than talking on a cellphone. Having pets present in the vehicle can also cause a great deal of distraction.
GPS and other Tech
Although technology can make driving safer, it can also distract drivers. GPS, infotainment systems, and even adjusting the radio can all cause a driver to take their eyes, hand, or mind off the road.
Interestingly, another common distraction is simply becoming distracted or “lost in thought.” One of the reasons people are quick to be distracted is complacency. After you have been driving for a while and get comfortable, especially on certain roads, you may forget how dangerous it can be to take your eyes, hands, or mind off the road, even for a second.
What to Do If You've Suffered Pain Due to a Distracted Driver
Accidents can happen in an instant. When they do, a doctor should be the first person you call. Florida law requires accident injury victims to have their injuries documented within 14 days in order to be eligible for personal injury protection insurance benefits.
Call ChiroCare of Florida for a medical evaluation after a car crash. Call 1-877-DRRIGHT.