Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Serious Consequences of Distracted Driving

car accident, distracted driver

Inattention to the road when driving, although seems like a basic driver error, can actually result in tragic vehicular accident. In fact, government data show that thousands of people die each year due to car accidents caused by inattentiveness of certain motorists.

In the United States, statistics reveal that in 2009 alone, at least 5,474 Americans were killed, while some 448,000 were injured due to distracted driving.

Studies show that there is a wide variety of factors that may distract a driver from driving cautiously, and these include:

•    Eating or drinking
•    Reading maps
•    Communicating to passengers
•    Using of cell phones or other electronic handheld devices
•    Daydreaming
•    Dealing with strong emotions
•    Changing the dial of on-board car stereo
•    Watching video

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving may be categorized into these three types:

1. Visual distraction – This involves inattention of the driver to the road or traffic situation.
2. Manual distraction – This pertains to failure of drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.
3. Cognitive distraction – This kind of distraction is associated with drivers who take their mind off from driving per se.

Distracted driving, regardless of its form, can result in serious or even fatal road accidents. The following are miscellaneous facts about the dangers of distracted driving as determined by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):

•    In 2009, at least 20 percent of car accident-related injuries were associated with distracted driving
•    People under the age of 20 are most prone to committing distracted driving
•    Drivers who use cell phones while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a road crash

In the State of California, people who get injured due to distracted driving may be eligible to claim for personal injury damages. The State’s tort law requires negligent drivers who have caused injury or harm to another person to provide compensatory payments. A car accident victim may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages, to wit.

Economic damages:

•    Payments for hospitalization and medication expenses
•    Payments for income lost (if the accident caused incapability of the victim to go to work)
•    Payments for property repair and/or replacement

Non-economic damages:

•    Pain and suffering damages
•    Emotional distress damages
•    Loss of consortium damages

Victims of distracted drivers can increase their chances of winning personal injury damages by getting the services of an expert lawyer. In California, victims may consult with an experienced Santa Monica Attorney to appropriately and timely claim for damages.


  1. Only my opinion but I think Bluetooth is equally distracting as well, as is having a conversation while driving. I side swiped my car against a pole in a parking garage once because I was distracted talking to a passenger. Bluetooth use is still distracting mentally; people need to concentrate on driving and not their conversation.

    Toyota San Diego

  2. true hands free technology is just lessen the accident...