The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims close to 4,000 deaths and approximately 400,000 injuries are caused by distracted drivers each year. Approximately nine people per day are fatally injured in car accidents caused by drivers that are texting, using cell phones, reaching for objects, and engaging in behaviors that require their attention be diverted from the road in front of them.
The few seconds it takes for a driver to reach for an object in the back seat or fumble with a food wrapper can cause a serious car accident. A driver traveling at 55 miles per hour who takes their eyes off the road for as little of five seconds is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded. It is not hard to imagine the carnage that could happen in that five seconds.
Causes of Distracted Driving Accidents
The following are types of distracted driving behaviors that result in fatal car accidents:
- Texting and cell phone usage: Drivers that engage in cell phone usage or texting while driving make a lethal choice that puts them and all others on the road in danger. This type of car accident is completely preventable. If it is vital for a driver to answer or place a phone call, read or send a text message, or reach for their phone, they should pull over to avoid a potentially fatal car accident.
- Eating and drinking while driving: Choking, dropping food, or fumbling with food wrappers or spilled drinks requires a driver to divert their attention from the road. Serious car accidents can occur when food and beverages interrupt the driver’s focus.
- Reaching for objects: It may seem like a simple task, but many serious and fatal car accidents happen when a driver reaches for an object in the back seat, on the floor, or on the passenger side of the vehicle. Drivers that need to reach for an object should be at a complete stop or pulled over to avoid taking their eyes off the road.
- Passenger distraction: Small children acting up in the back seat of a car, teenage friends carrying on, and heated conversations can cause a driver to lose focus while driving. Children should be secured in child safety seats and must refrain from drinking or eating while the car is in motion. Rowdy passengers should be limited, and emotional or intense conversations should be saved for a more appropriate time.
- Personal hygiene and grooming: Many car accidents are caused when drivers are looking in the rear view or visor mirrors to apply makeup or fix their hair. It may seem harmless, but the time it takes to put on lipstick or check for food in our teeth can have catastrophic consequences.
Preventing Distracted Driving Car Accidents
The following are distinct actions to avoid a catastrophic car accident caused by distracted driving:
- Turn off cell phones and leave them in the back seat to avoid temptation
- Stop the car and enjoy a quick bite inside a restaurant or while pulled over and parked
- Pull off the road to check directions, make a call, or answer a text message
- Stop the car to attend to a child’s needs and avoid reaching over the front seat to help them
- Leave objects that are out of reach where they are and avoid reaching for them until you are at a full stop
- Tend to grooming needs before you begin your trip or when you arrive at your destination
- Remind all passengers to remain seated with seat belts fastened and avoid conversations that can distract you from driving
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Help Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents Claim Compensation
If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help. East Coast Trial Lawyers will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries so that you can focus on your recovery. Call us today at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.