Causes of Distracted Driving in California
It’s not exactly breaking news that distracted driving is one of the primary causes of traffic accident-related injuries and fatalities. Distracted driving puts those who are behind the wheel, other drivers on the road, and pedestrians in danger every single day. In fact, is such a prevalent issue, it is estimated that roughly one in every four car accident fatalities are a direct result of a distracted driver behind the wheel. Have you ever wondered what the cause of all of this distraction is in the first place? Can we really blame these statistics on the existence of cell phones and leave it at that?
An insurance company based in the state of Pennsylvania has analyzed traffic accident-related injury and fatality data that they compiled from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which studies all car accidents that lead to fatalities in the United States on an annual basis. Those who analyzed the data were able to determine what the primary ten causes of distracted driving were. If you think you know what number the number one cause is, I bet you’ll be surprised.
Their results are as follows:
Distraction: Smoking – 1%
Only one out of every one hundred car accidents is caused by a driver who is distracted by either lighting. Smoking, or trying to put out a cigarette or cigar.
Distraction: Moving Object Inside the Vehicle – 1%
Objects moving around inside of the car like children, pets, or an errant bee could cause a driver to take their eyes off the road. The data analysis suggests that this may actually be an underreported source of distraction to those behind the wheel.
Distraction: Making Adjustments to the Vehicle – 1%
Interestingly enough, fiddling with levers and knobs in order to make adjustments to driving accouterments such as side-view mirrors, seat positions, child locks, or even seatbelts plays a comparatively small role in traffic accidents that are caused by distracted driving.
Distraction: Stereo and Climate Control – 2%
Trying to bring up your driving playlist on Spotify or messing with the car’s air conditioning while you are driving down the highway, even for a second, plays a slightly larger role in vehicle-related fatalities, but a small role overall.
Distraction: Eating and Drinking – 2%
Comparable to playing with your radio, trying to eat and drink while you are driving is also a source of distraction for some motorists. Whether it’s trying to eat food that isn’t behind-the-wheel-friendly like tacos or giving up on trying to find the cup holder without looking, chowing down behind the wheel does come with its own set of risks.
Distraction: Trying to Locate an Item – 2%
It is common knowledge that using a cell phone while you are behind the wheel is considered distracted driving and is very dangerous, but even reaching for your cell phone can also put your safety at risk. Feeling around in the back seat and trying to locate any item, whether it’s your purse, your water bottle, your cell phone, or that granola bar you could swear fell out of your gym bag, this activity still pulls your focus from the task at hand and contributes its fair share to the yearly number of accident-related deaths.
Distraction: Other Occupants of the Vehicle – 5%
People with small children have been waiting for this one to pop up on the list. Trying to hand your baby their bottle or open that bag of goldfish for your fussy toddler may not be such a great idea if you happen to be driving at the time. Likewise, older passengers in your car who may be excessively loud, rambunctious, or rowdy can place a strain on your focus and end up causing a traffic accident.
Distraction: Persons or Happenings Outside of the Vehicle – 7%
Fairly common reactions to outside events such as rubbernecking at a car accident or watching someone get arrested is something just about every single driver has done at one point. It is natural for our attention to be pulled away from what we are doing when we something out of the ordinary taking place. No matter if it is scrutinizing the car next to you because you think the driver looks familiar or watching an escaped circus bear ride a unicycle down the sidewalk, distractions from outside events is the third most common cause of distracted driving.
Distraction: Cell Phone Usage – 12%
The only thing surprising about this particular statistic is that it isn’t number one on the list. Whether it’s sending a text, dialing a phone number, or checking your friend’s story on Instagram, this form of distraction is a triple threat. It is visual, cognitive, and manual because it takes your eyes and mind completely off of the road, and at least one hand off the wheel.
Distraction: Generally Spaced Out – 62%
Have you ever been driving along and all of a sudden it occurs to you that you just went through an intersection and don’t remember even looking at the light? Or you find yourself turning into your neighborhood and realize you don’t remember 90% of the drive home from the store? Letting your mind wander and being completely unaware of it is far and away the leading cause of distracted driving accidents.
As driving a car becomes second nature and an activity with which you are comfortable, it is easy to become complacent behind the wheel, and to forget just how dangerous operating a motor vehicle really can be. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, then you need to employ the services of a licensed, qualified car accident attorney as soon as you possibly can. Here at the Los Angeles Injury Group, we can help you fight for the compensation for the lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering that you are entitled to under the law. Give us a call for a free consultation with an attorney at (310) 954-7248 today.