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What Are Distracted Driving Accidents?

Manual, Visual and Cognitive Distraction

Distracted driving accidents are something you hear a lot about today. While technological advances have been wonderful for convenience, advanced technology has also resulted in a greater potential for distracting drivers.

Distracted driving accidents refer to accidents that are caused by drivers who do not have their complete attention on driving. In such instances, something else is taking their attention off the road. Distracted driving occurs often, and it occurs in greater or lesser degrees, but a few seconds of inattention is all that it takes to cause an accident.

Types of Distracted Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are three main types of distracted driving:

  • Visual distraction. When you take your eyes off the road, visual distraction occurs. Examples of visual distraction include: reading a text, surfing the internet, looking at your phone to answer a call, turning around to yell at your kids, looking through a fast food bag to grab your burger, looking at a car accident or turning your attention away from the road to do sight seeing.
  • Manual distraction. Manual distraction refers to taking your hands off the driving wheel. Examples of manual distraction include rifling through your purse to grab your ringing cell phone, taking your hand off the wheel to sip a drink or eat, punching radio buttons, managing a CD changer or operating your GPS.
  • Cognitive distraction. When you take your mind off of driving, you're engaged in cognitive distraction. While you may have a hands-free cell phone and be driving with your hands on the driving wheel, when you talk on the phone, your complete attention is not on the road. Perhaps you're mentally mulling over a problem at work, thinking about vacation plans, simply daydreaming or mentally scheduling out your day. All of these mental activities are cognitive distractions to driving.

What Are the Risks for Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving?

The CDC warns that texting is the worst distraction of all because it involves all three types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. Texting generally lasts for 5 seconds, which if you're traveling at 55 mph, is the length of a football field.

An estimated 25 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities result from distracted driving. Teenage drivers have the highest record of distracted driving reports. Distracted driving causes more than 58 percent of teen vehicle crashes.

When a distracted driver causes an accident and you suffer serious injury, you have a legal rights. New York car accident attorneys can pursue a case to recover compensation for damages.

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