Everyone knows instinctively that texting while driving is distracting and dangerous. Yet not many people know just how dangerous it is and why. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of driver distraction – and using a smartphone behind the wheel engages a driver in all three at once.
What are the Three Types of Driver Distraction?
A driver can be distracted in three distinct ways:
- Manual: A distraction that takes your hands off the steering wheel.
- Visual: A distraction that takes your eyes off the road and mirrors.
- Cognitive: A distraction that takes your mind off the task of driving.
Cognitive distractions are particularly dangerous because they linger. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a cognitive or mental distraction will keep distracting you for up to 30 seconds after its source is removed. For example, reading a text message and putting the phone down will cause you to keep thinking about that text for another half minute.
As it can be seen, texting while driving engages a driver in all three of these types of distractions simultaneously. Picking up the phone is manual, looking at it is visual, and thinking about the message is cognitive.
Drivers in Denial of the Danger
Although the danger of distracted driving is always recognizable, many drivers are in denial about just how dangerous it is. An NSC survey found that 20% of young drivers thought texting while driving was completely safe. Another 30% of drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 also thought it was safe to text while driving. Other surveys from groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have shown that upwards of 75% of drivers think texting behind the wheel is of minimal concern.
The truth is quite the opposite, of course. The NHTSA reported nearly 3,200 traffic fatalities caused by a distracted driver in 2017, with the vast majority of those cases involving smartphone use. Nearly 10% of those fatalities were suffered by teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. Many thousands more people each year are seriously injured by texting drivers.
No matter the angle used to view the data, the answer is clear: Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous but also one of the most common things done behind the wheel.
After a car accident in Oneonta, drivers can call (607) 228-8404 and speak with the attorneys from Scarzafava, Basdekis & Dadey, PLLC. Our firm takes on stubborn insurance companies who represent negligent drivers but do not want to be held liable for what they do.