The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Wyoming Car Accident Injury Statistics
One of the biggest roadway dangers that you can face in Wyoming comes in the form of distracted driving. This umbrella term covers a number of different actions that other drivers can make when they should be putting their undivided attention on the road instead. When these actions or behaviors are engaged in, other drivers like you are put in jeopardy. And if such behavior causes an accident you will need an experienced car accident lawyer to help you get just compensation.
This article takes a look at the different types of distracted driving behaviors and how they can impact other drivers, as well as the statistics that show exactly how distracted driving can affect innocent people on the road.
Distracted Driving Behaviors
Distractions are often divided into three categories: visual, cognitive, and manual.
- Visual distractions are ones that take your eyes away from the road. This can include changing the radio station, reading a message, checking directions, talking to passengers in the back seat, or even looking at things outside of the vehicle.
- Manual distractions are the ones that take your hands away from the wheel. Again, this can involve checking maps or changing your music. If you reply to text messages, it’s also a manual distraction. Personal grooming falls under this category, including doing your hair or makeup, or shaving.
- Cognitive distractions are ones that take your mind off of the task at hand. By default, all distractions can be considered cognitive. However, it also specifically involves having phone calls, even on hands-free devices. Many sources suggest that you don’t drive if you’re emotionally overwhelmed, too, because that can impact your ability to focus.
There are some distracted driving behaviors that some may find surprising simply because the action is so commonplace that everyone seems to do it. Talking to other passengers or changing your music are both examples. Some behaviors are blatantly dangerous and even illegal, such as texting while driving.
Statistics Of Distracted Driving
Unsurprisingly, distracted driving leads to a number of accidents and fatalities every year. In 2016, it was estimated by the National Highway Safety Administration that almost 3,500 people were killed due to distracted driving alone.
However, other sources have gone on to show that this may actually be an underestimation and that the true number of fatalities is double or even triple this amount. This is also mostly focused on texting or the use of mobile devices as the primary source of the distraction, when distracted driving covers a much wider range of actions.
In fact, a 2018 study shows that up to 25 percent of all accident fatalities are related in some way to distracted driving. Most of the people involved in these crashes are teens. There were 391,000 injuries reported as a direct result of distracted driving in 2015 as well. When broken down further, these shows that nine people are killed every single day as a result of distracted driving.
Drivers being “lost in thought” or allowing their mind to wander is also a surprisingly large issue. This cognitive-based distraction is reportedly responsible for 62 percent of all distracted driving crashes. The terminology is broad and can be applied to any number of situations, such as conversing with passengers or accepting phone calls. However, it’s perfectly possible for someone to become distracted and allow their thoughts to drift without ever having a physical distraction present in the vehicle.
Coming in at second place is the use of cell phones in general, which includes taking phone calls, map reading, and texting.
One of the most alarming statistics, however, is the number of drivers who engage in this behavior. About 80 percent of the drivers surveyed admitted to engaging in distracted or dangerous behavior while on the road, including everything from changing clothing to driving with their feet and more.
One of the biggest issues is that the problem isn’t getting better over time, either. In fact, it’s arguably getting worse.
Texting While Driving Is On the Rise
As the years go by, more people are beginning to recognize the danger of texting while driving in specific. This is one of the most common distracted driving behaviors. It’s been dubbed “the new drunk driving” for many reasons.
- There is a similar negative impact on the lives of people involved in crashes with DUI drivers and drivers who were texting
- Distracted driving behaviors are continually repeated if the offender gets away with it a first, second, third, etc. time
- The cognitive impact of a distraction is similar to that of a DUI
Likewise, it can be just as deadly as a DUI. A good car accident lawyer will often be able to compare cases of distracted driving to cases of driving while under the influence and recognize the similarities therein.
And most alarmingly of all, despite the danger involved, there aren’t many signs of this phenomenon slowing down. More people than ever are reporting the use of cell phones while on the road. This is especially predominant among teenagers and young adults, though there have been recorded incidents among all ages. Reportedly, many younger people believe that texting while driving is something they can get away with because it’s such a common behavior. Everyone thinks “that could never happen to me” until a crash occurs, and by then, it’s too late.
This rise in texting while driving comes at the same time that more laws are being created specifically to crack down on this risky behavior. The long-term impact of these changes in law have yet to be seen, but the hopes are that they’ll help spread the message that texting while driving is a serious offense and that it could get convicted drivers into a lot of hot water.
The Consequences Of Distracted Driving
FOR DISTRACTED DRIVERS
Each state has a different set of rules regarding distracted driving. For example, in Wyoming, hand-held devices are banned in some cities. On the other hand, hands-free devices are still allowed and are even encouraged in some cases. This encouragement comes despite the fact that even auditory distractions can take a driver’s mind off of the road. However, it’s still considered a much safer alternative to the devices that take a driver’s eyes and hands away from the wheel.
It should be noted that hand-held devices refer to more than just cell phones, too. You can get in trouble for driving while holding a laptop, tablet, gaming device, and so on.
Drivers convicted of distracted driving, especially driving with hand-held devices, can face misdemeanor charges and hefty fines. In some cases, it’s even possible for a driver’s license to be suspended. Commercial drivers have a much stricter set of rules to follow, and they can have their CDL canceled on just a first-time offense.
FOR DRIVERS HIT BY DISTRACTED DRIVERS
The impact on victims shouldn’t be underestimated, either. Distracted driving can have lifelong effects on people involved in these crashes.
You can end up facing hefty medical bills, high car repair expenses, and trauma from the event itself. You may find yourself dealing with a life-changing injury. These are unfortunately long-lasting events that can impact you and your finances for years to come. This is especially true of injuries. If you’re dealing with a serious injury, you’ll likely need to take time off work. The combination of medical expenses and not having a steady stream of income could easily make a huge dent in your savings or even push you toward bankruptcy. This is certainly not something you need to be dealing with when you’re already pushed to your limits and trying to recover physically and mentally.
There are lifestyle changes to consider as well. For example, if you were injured in a way that damaged your mobility, you will need to readjust your entire life to deal with your new needs. You may not be able to do things you loved before or even hold the same job.
Even people who are physically okay may suffer from mental or emotional trauma. Though post-traumatic stress disorder was once considered an ailment only soldiers suffered from, it’s been proven that any stressful situation can be enough to trigger this. Victims of crashes are also more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.
In some cases, you may have even lost a loved one. In the event of something so traumatic, it can feel like nothing anyone does will be enough to repair the hurt you’ve gone through.
Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?
Getting into a crash with a distracted driver can permanently alter your life in ways you would never expect. The costs can be exponential, and you could end up having to go to court in order to pursue the damages that you rightfully deserve. This is why you need a practiced car accident lawyer leading your legal team.
However, the last thing you need on your plate is having to deal with a court case on top of everything else. This is why many people in your shoes will turn to an experienced car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help you recover, on average, nearly 5 times what you would if you were to try to go it alone.
If you’re looking into compensation or simply want some counsel for what you might want to do in the future, contact The Wyoming Advocates any time online or by phone at 307-466-0003. The car accident lawyer you speak to is here to help you fight for the money you deserve, which can help make recovery that much smoother. Remember that your recovery is the Wyoming Advocates first priority of your car accident lawyer. You deserve an Advocate!