Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle collisions. In 2018, there were 57,514 distracted driving accidents in Arizona alone that resulted in 15,689 serious injuries and 810 fatalities.
Driving distractions fall into at least one of three categories:
- Cognitive distractions that keep your mind off driving
- Manual distractions that remove your hands from the wheel
- Visual distractions that take your eyes off the road
These categories are not mutually exclusive, meaning that a single distraction could fall into more than one category at the same time. The more categories a distraction falls into, the more dangerous it is. Here are some of the most common causes of distracted driving in Arizona.
Distracted Driving Accidents Can Result From Adjusting Controls
In the past, you could control temperature and change the radio stations or volume in your vehicle by turning knobs or pushing buttons. With modern vehicles, you are more likely to use a touchscreen. The mechanism by which you control these settings may have changed, but they still represent a distraction while driving that can prove dangerous. You can prevent distracted driving accidents by adjusting controls to make sure that everything, including the seat position, mirrors, temperature, and radio station, is set the way you want it before you put the car in motion.
The Potential for Accidents From Cellphone Use Is Well Documented
Today, many people consider the phrase “distracted driving” to be synonymous with cellphone use behind the wheel. Though cellphone use is not the first or the only driving distraction, it has quickly become one of the most common causes of car wrecks. When you use a hand-held cellphone to talk while driving, it becomes a manual distraction by causing you to take one hand off the wheel and a cognitive distraction by pulling your mind off the task of driving. Dialing or texting requires you to take your eyes off the road, making the cellphone a manual distraction as well.
Arizona state lawmakers have taken steps to prevent distracted driving by cell phones from causing car accidents. Some of these laws affect all drivers, e.g., all texting and hand-held device use behind the wheel is banned. Others affect certain types of drivers; for example, drivers under age 18 and school bus drivers are banned from using cell phones behind the wheel at all.
As a compromise, the law permits hands-free devices that operate with voice commands. However, some experts argue that, even when eliminating manual and visual distractions, the use of these devices still takes your mind off the task of driving and recommend no cellphone use behind the wheel at all as a best practice.
Multitasking Can Cause Distracted Driving Accidents
Because driving is a routine, some people think that they can make the most of their commute by getting ready for work during the drive over. However, eating, drinking, and grooming are all examples of activities that can be distracting while driving. Eating and drinking are manual and cognitive distractions and sometimes visual distractions as well. Grooming falls into all three categories simultaneously.
You may be able to prevent distracted driving accidents by modifying your own habits. However, you cannot control what other people do behind the wheel. If you have been injured in a collision with a distracted driver, contact MDK Law Group for help with your personal injury claim.