According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 391,000 people were injured and another 3,450 people were killed in distracted driving-related accidents in 2016. While the dangers of texting and driving have been well documented recently, many of these injuries occurred as a result of other distractions behind the wheel. Many common—even seemingly simple—behaviors divert driver attention and cause serious, long-term injury to drivers and passengers.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that distractions take three forms:
- Visual. Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual. Taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive. Taking your mind off driving
Texting is often thought of as the most serious driving distraction because it combines all three levels of distraction, but even one type of distraction has the power to significantly affect a driver’s ability to complete driving tasks.
Common Driver Distractions in Alaska
Often, drivers may not even realize they are engaging in risky behaviors behind the wheel. They may think they can do simple tasks while maintaining their focus on the road. This, however, can simply be untrue. Some common distractions include:
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls
- Setting or following a navigation system
- Fixing makeup
- Children and pets
- Reaching for an object in the vehicle
- Watching those outside the vehicle—such as accidents or other car passengers
- Becoming “lost in thought” or daydreaming
In some cases, accidents have even been caused by a driver attempting to work a hands-free device, such as those used to make phone calls. It’s important to recognize all possible distractions and take steps to eliminate them before starting the car.
When You’re Involved in an Accident With a Distracted Driver
While helpful, simply putting a cell phone away doesn’t put an end to distractions. Drivers may feel confident in their abilities and comfortable after many, many miles of driving, and this can lead to a false sense of security. No matter a driver’s experience, distracted driving is dangerous.
If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you have rights that can be protected in Alaska. Car accident victims can hold irresponsible drivers accountable and obtain the medical care and compensation they need to recover as fully as possible. Attorney Ben Crittenden helps accident victims by thoroughly investigating the accident, negotiating with insurance companies, and taking your case to court when necessary. Ben works hard to make sure every victim’s voice is heard, and your rights are fully protected. Call Ben’s Anchorage office today or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.