Distracted driving is a significant threat to roadway safety in Minnesota and across the country. Some form of distraction is implicated in over one-fourth of all motor vehicle accidents, and many of these crashes have serious consequences. In just one year, over 3,000 people lost their lives in collisions linked to distracted driving. Even when everyone survives the crash, victims may struggle for years to come with medical issues and long-term disabilities.
Types of distractions while driving
There is more than one type of distracted driving. The most common forms are:
- Visual distractions
- Tactile distractions
- Cognitive distractions
Other kinds of distracted driving combine multiple types of distractions for an even more damaging effect.
Visual distractions can lead to a motor vehicle accident when drivers take their eyes away from the road. These can include anything from glancing at a map to checking the GPS to observing the car touch screen to look at the display or the song being played. While some of these distractions are almost inherent, any time eyes are away from the road can easily lead to a delayed reaction.
Manual or tactile distractions are those that require drivers to take their hands away from the wheel. If you eat, drink or smoke as you drive, at least one of your hands is off the wheel. You may also find changing the radio dial or adjusting the touchscreen to be a form of manual distraction.
The dangers of distracted driving
Cognitive distractions, on the other hand, take your focus away from the road, even if your eyes and hands are on the wheel. Even drunk driving can be considered a form of cognitive distraction, although talking with other passengers is a more common example.
The most serious kinds of distracted driving are those that combine two or three forms of distraction. For example, texting or surfing the internet on a mobile phone distract the eyes, the mind and the hands.
While there are laws against this type of distracted driving, far too many drivers continue to text and drive even though they are aware of the dangers. Victims who have been injured by any of these types of distracted driving may seek compensation for their damages, including lost wages and medical bills.