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Distracted Driving Fatalities Are On the Rise

Distracted Driving Fatalities Are On the RiseDriving is a mentally and physically demanding task, so it makes sense that drivers are expected to give their full attention to the road. Yet, if you drive on Colorado roads, you’re more likely to see drivers glancing down at their phones, fiddling with their infotainment system, turning around to fix their kids’ seatbelts, or focusing on their breakfast than you are to see fully engaged drivers.

Modern technology makes it easier than ever to be distracted while behind the wheel, and it’s come at a price. Fatalities have increased as distracted driving rates have increased, and families are left to pick up the pieces. When a distracted driver tears your life apart, either by causing you injuries or causing the death of a loved one, you must hold them accountable. Choose an Aurora car accident lawyer at Colorado Accident Attorneys for the aggressive representation you deserve. Call us at 303-567-7981 or submit a contact form to set up a consultation now.

Substantial research has gone into the effects of distracted driving, and none of it brings good news. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving led to over 3,500 deaths in 2021 alone. That’s roughly 1,000 more than occurred in 2020. The amount of drivers using handheld devices has gone up over the years. The National Safety Council reports that just 1.5% of drivers used cell phones and similar devices in 2012, a number that jumped to 3.4% in 2021.

You can also read our resource about Colorado accident statistics.

Types of Common Distractions

Distractions are generally divided into three main categories: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions are those that take your eyes off the road. Visual distractions may include your phone, GPS devices, infotainment systems, and billboards. Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel and make it harder to respond to obstacles. These distractions include eating, drinking, changing the radio station, and using the phone. Cognitive distractions take your mental focus away from the task of driving. Common cognitive distractions include deep conversations, daydreaming, worrying, or coming up with a text message response.

While all types of distractions can have dangerous outcomes, you’ll notice that cell phones are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. They take your attention fully off the road, making them one of the most common causes of distracted driving car accidents.

Why Distracted Driving is So Dangerous

Those who engage in distracted driving often severely underestimate its true dangers. They reason that it takes just a moment to look down at their phone, and from that moment on they can text without looking at the screen. They think that eating doesn’t take any mental focus, so how dangerous can it be to have a sandwich in one hand while driving? The fact is that distracted driving impairs your skills in a number of ways, leading to preventable car crashes.

Distracted driving has a profoundly negative impact on your reaction time. Drivers distracted by something else take significantly longer to respond to obstacles, such as pedestrians, sudden traffic, and road hazards. Distracted drivers are also less likely to stay in their lane or maintain a consistent speed. Both of these behaviors are considered erratic and make it difficult for drivers in the area to predict the distracted driver’s next move and react appropriately.

Many experts compare distracted driving—in particular, driving while using a smartphone—to driving while impaired. Like drinking alcohol, using a smartphone affects your cognitive, visual, and manual function. Like those who drink and drive, those who text and drive often overestimate their ability to drive while distracted.

What Can Be Done

Too many people have lost a loved one to distracted drivers or seen firsthand how distracted driving can ruin lives. That brings up an important question—what can we do?

There’s a growing national focus on education and awareness campaigns that highlight the legitimate dangers of driving while distracted. They often target younger drivers, as they are at greater risk of distracted driving.

There’s also a push to legislate stricter punishments for distracted driving and divert more law enforcement officers to catch distracted drivers. However, these efforts often hit budgetary limits and issues.

Technological solutions aim to notify drivers when they are too distracted to drive or even report unsafe or distracted driving to insurance companies. This may push drivers to drive more safely in an effort to reduce their insurance rates.

Hurt By a Distracted Driver? Call Colorado Accident Attorneys Now

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, don’t wait any longer to learn more about your legal options. We’re here to help. Call our team at 303-567-7981 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.

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