Distracted driving is a serious problem in Ohio and around the country, claiming thousands of lives across the U.S. each year and contributing to hundreds of thousands of injuries.
Distracted driving plays an especially prominent role in accidents involving young drivers: a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that distracted driving played a role in 58% of teen crashes.
Efforts to reduce or end distracted driving have centered around cell phone usage and texting while driving, and for good reason. At 55 miles per hour, the average driver checking a text message takes his or her eyes off the road for more than 120 yards—about the length of a football field.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says cell phones play a role in more than 1.5 million motor vehicle accidents annually.
Research suggests that a person texting while driving is six times as likely to cause an accident than someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol!
Most people are aware of the risks, at least to a degree. And yet, more than 40% of high school students and more than 30% of adult drivers surveyed admitted to having texted while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.
Still, texting and other mobile phone use represent just one type of distracted driving, and others can be just as dangerous.
Other Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is just what the term suggests: operating a motor vehicle without keeping your full attention on the road ahead and the task at hand.
Distractions come in many forms, some of which are so commonly accepted that many drivers don’t even recognize them as distractions. Some examples include:
- Turning or reaching to the back seat to interact with children
- Conversing with passengers in the vehicle
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Punching an address into GPS or looking at directions
- Selecting music
- Lighting a cigarette
- Reaching for an item in the back seat or on the floor
One of the most common items on this list is also among the most dangerous activities a driver can engage in. 83% of drivers in an Exxon Mobile study said they drink coffee and other beverages while driving. However, various studies conducted in the U.S. and U.K. reveal that eating or drinking on the road substantially increases the risk of a traffic crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says eating behind the wheel increases the chances of a traffic crash by 80%.
Data from the University of Leeds suggests that a snacking driver’s response time is slowed by about 44%, and a Lytx study determined that a driver who is eating or drinking is 3.6 times as likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident as one who is focused on driving.
If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver, Help is Available
Although Ohio law only explicitly prohibits texting and certain other mobile device use while driving, every driver has an obligation to exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle and may be liable for any damages that occur as a result of carelessness or inattention.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused in whole or part by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, and suffering, and more.
Just call 440-946-7656 to schedule a free consultation.
One of our experienced Ohio car accident attorneys will assess your case and explain your rights, options, and the damages you may be entitled to.