Thanks to the passage of laws, stepped up enforcement, and a massive public relations campaign, motorists throughout the U.S. are well aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash than those who are focused on the road.
Though these efforts have had a positive effect in discouraging motorists from talking, texting, or other phone use while behind the wheel, there are other forms of distracted driving. Some activities are just as dangerous and present similar risks of injury-causing auto accidents in Maryland. An overview should shed some light on distracted driving beyond the cell phone.
Three Ways Distracted Driving Affects a Motorist
Some activities are just as likely to interfere with the most important task for a driver, which is paying attention to traffic, road conditions, and other factors. Distractions affect a motorist’s focus in three key ways.
- Visually, since some tasks take the driver’s eyes off the road;
- Manually, when an activity requires use of the hands and fingers; and,
- Cognitively, as would be the case when the motorist is thinking about subject matter other than driving.
Examples of Dangerous Distracted Driving Aside From Cell Phone Use
There are statutes in every US state regarding use of a phone while driving, but other activities are not regulated. Because they are not violating the law, motorists may still engage in:
- Driving-Related Activities: They may be associated with operating a vehicle, but activities that are not absolutely essential can distract a motorist from driving. Examples include interacting with a GPS for directions, adjusting the radio, or regulating the temperature controls.
- Personal Tasks: A quick stop at a fast food drive-through is tempting to save time, but a meal can spell disaster for a motorist who is eating or drinking while driving. Instead of snacking behind the wheel, it is smart to enjoy your snack at a restaurant. In addition, another dangerous personal task is grooming. Put on your makeup, brush your hair, and shave your beard at home.
- Interactions with Others: Even conversations can turn deadly when they impact your cognitive skills and concentration. Teen drivers in particular are at risk because they do not have the practice and experience that older motorists possess. Keep discussions to a minimum and stick to light, non-controversial topics.
Talk to a Baltimore County Auto Accidents Attorney About Your Rights
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a distracted driving crash, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent motorist. However, regardless of whether the incident occurs due to cell phone use or other forms of distracted driving, you need solid evidence to prove your right to monetary damage. To learn how an experienced car accident lawyer can help, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can set up a free consultation to discuss your claim at our offices in Baltimore County, MD.