Distracted driving has always been a problem, but it has become far worse in recent years. These days, virtually everyone has a smartphone, and motorists seem to have a hard time staying off of their phones while they are on the road. Teen drivers are especially susceptible to distractions. Their youth and inexperience often result in poor driving decisions, and they are also the most active smartphone users.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to a study done by TeenSafe, distracted driving accounts for roughly one out of every four motor vehicle crash fatalities in the U.S. This comes as no surprise when you consider that at any given moment during daylight hours, there are approximately 660,000 motorists throughout the country who are texting while driving or performing other activities on their smartphones. It also comes as little surprise that teens are the largest age group that reported being distracted while driving in this study.
More than half of all teens have admitted to having used a cell phone while driving, and one out of four admit to having texted while driving within the past 30 days. Here are some other disturbing statistics from the distracted driving study:
- 9 people are killed in the U.S. each day in crashes involving a distracted driver;
- Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States;
- 16 to 19-year-olds are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than any other age group;
- More than 58% of all teen crashes are caused by distracted driving.
While the number of alcohol-related driving fatalities is currently decreasing among teens, the number of overall traffic fatalities is on the rise. The authors of this study believe this is largely attributable to distracted driving among teen drivers.
Types of Distracted Driving Among Teens
Teens are easily distracted by nature, and this is a major reason insurance rates have traditionally been higher for drivers in this age group. These distractions can be placed into three general categories:
- Visual: A visual distraction is one that causes drivers to temporarily take their eyes off of the road. Examples may include staring at a billboard, looking down to tune the car radio, turning sideways to talk to a passenger, reading an electronic message, watching a video, or looking at their GPS.
- Manual: A manual distraction is one that causes a motorist to take one or both hands off the wheel while driving. Examples in this category may include eating, drinking, changing clothes, putting on makeup, digging around in their pockets, purse, or car for something they lost, dialing a phone number, holding the phone up to their ear to talk, or typing a message.
- Cognitive: A cognitive distraction is one that takes a motorist’s mental attention away from driving. A motorist can be mentally distracted by listening to the radio, talking on the phone, talking to a passenger, thinking of a response to a message, or just daydreaming.
The Heightened Danger of Smartphone Use while Driving
While most driver distractions may fit into one or maybe two of the aforementioned categories, smartphone activities can often involve all three. For example, when motorists send a text message, they are using at least one hand to hold the device and type on it while they look at the screen rather than the road and direct their mental focus to the message they are responding to.
This is why activities such as texting while driving bring the dangers of distracted driving to a whole new level. No one can be expected to drive safely while their full attention is directed toward their smartphone instead of the road, and even just a few seconds of attention directed at a smartphone can result in disastrous consequences.
Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident in Virginia? Speak with an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver (teen or otherwise), you may be entitled to compensation. Before accepting any settlement offer from the insurance company representing the responsible party, it is important to talk with a skilled personal injury lawyer, so you understand your rights and legal options.
At Schilling & Esposito, we have several decades of experience successfully representing clients who have been injured due to the actions of distracted drivers and other negligent parties. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive full and fair compensation, and that the parties responsible for their injuries are held fully accountable. For a free consultation with one of our seasoned Virginia personal injury lawyers, call our office today at 804-261-1001. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.