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Distracted Driving: Cell Phones Are Only Part of the Problem


woman putting on lipstick while driving

New York Attorneys Protecting the Rights of those Injured by Distracted Drivers

Safety experts continue to point out the dangers associated with cell phone use by drivers, and appropriately so. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), use of cell phones isn’t the only activity that can lead to distracted driving. A host of other activities can also be dangerous, including:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Attending to or disciplining child passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
  • Adjusting temperature controls

Three Types of Distracted Driving

Safety experts identifies three primary types of distractions:

  • Manual distractions: Those that cause the driver to move his or her hands away from the wheel. A good example is reaching for a soda or food item.
  • Visual distractions: Those that cause the driver to focus his or her eyes away from the road. This can happen, for example, when the driver drops the soda, and it spills, causing the driver to look down at the mess.
  • Cognitive distraction: Those distractions that cause the driver’s mind to wander away from the task of driving. The driver might think of an upcoming social engagement, a problem at home or work or, if the driver is on a hands-free cell phone conversation, of the matter being discussed.

Texting is considered particularly dangerous, since it involves all three types of distractions.

Young Drivers Face Even Greater Risk of Distracted Driving

Studies show that young drivers are at greatest risk for distracted driving incidents.

Several factors appear to be at play, but many safety experts say inexperienced drivers typically overestimate their ability to multitask. According to the NHTSA, during one recent year (2009), 16 percent of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted.

“Do as I Say, Not as I Do”

One nagging problem is that, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 90 percent of all drivers understand the dangers associated with cell phone use and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send e-mail while driving. Nevertheless, 35 percent of these same people admitted to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving during the previous month. Similarly, two out of three survey respondents admitted to talking on their cell phone, even though 88 percent found it a threat to safety. The message, “Do as I say, not as I actually do.”

Distracted Driving Has Serious Consequences

Distracted driving comes at a price – a price that is often paid by innocent victims. The crashes that result cause property damage and, much more tragically, they cause personal injury and even death. In the two seconds that a driver glances down at the spilled drink or the cell phone, he or she can travel the length of a football field, striking anything in the way. If you (or a family member) have been injured in an vehicle crash, particularly if you suspect that it was caused by a distracted driver, you owe it to yourself or your loved one to make sure the person responsible pays appropriate levels of damages, including pain and suffering. Establishing liability can be a complex process. There are time limits within which your claim must be filed, so delay can defeat your claim, even if the equities are on your side. Retaining a skilled, experienced attorney is often the key to recovery.

The law firm of Hacker Murphy is one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the capital district. We are among the top rated lawyers in the country, achieving the highest ratings from both client groups and our peers. We have been representing clients for years. Our firm has the experience and resources to help you establish your claim and negotiate the best possible settlement. Call us now at (518) 730-4723 or complete our online form. The Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.