Why is distracted driving so dangerous?

Distracted driving is a major concern because of how many distractions there are, who is getting distracted and what other activities it can lead to.

Many drivers in Maryland may fear encountering a drunk driver on the road, but in many cases, a distracted driver is even more dangerous or at least more common. The Federal Communications Commission states that over 3,000 people were fatally wounded in crashes involving a distracted vehicle operator in the course of a single year. In a single day, 1,000 people are injured and nine are killed in this same type of incident.

New generation

Part of the danger lies in who is being distracted. Some surveys suggest that teens have a greater likelihood of being distracted drivers than their older counterparts. In fact, 42% of high school students who took part in a survey admitted to recently sending an email or text while driving states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the next generation takes over behind the wheel, they may be even more likely to engage in distracting behavior, which could increase the accident rate even more. Teens and other new license holders need to be made aware that looking away from the road, even if only for a split second, can lead to serious injury or death for others.

Abundance of distractions

The number of distractions available to drivers is staggering. A person behind the wheel could have his or her attention diverted by the radio, a text message, a billboard or the GPS. Even taking a drink of coffee can reduce a person's ability to react to changing traffic patterns. A driver could be considered distracted if any of the following is true:

  • Eyes are taken off the road.
  • The mind is allowed to wander.
  • Hands are removed from the steering wheel.

With so many ways of being distracted, anyone getting behind the wheel needs to work extra hard to stay focused. Cars can travel the length of a football field in about five seconds when traveling at 55 miles per hour.

Possible gateway

A driver who allows him- or herself to be distracted by a cellphone could be more likely to engage in other dangerous behaviors. For example, some students who reported texting while driving also admitted to wearing their seat belt infrequently. While this indiscretion does not endanger others out on the road, it can increase the fatality rate of distracted driving. Other students admitted they would get behind the wheel after drinking, which can increase the danger to others on the road.

Any driver in Maryland could get distracted and cause a crash. Regardless of what caused an accident, a person involved in a collision may benefit from working with an attorney familiar with this type of personal injury case.