Are Smartphones to Blame for Distracted Driving?

by William Mattar | April 9th, 2021

Unfortunately, some drivers engage in distracted driving either out of habit or because they do not understand how dangerous it is to take their eyes off the road, even for a second. Smartphones can be one cause of distracted driving in. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in the United States nine people are killed every day in accidents involving distracted drivers.

In 2016, 18,000 tickets were issued in New York State for distracted driving with only 2,000 of those being for smartphones. As with most complex issues, there are several parts to the problem.

Smartphones offer at least three types of driving distractions:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Texting
  • Using the Internet

Smartphones are a troubling component of the distracted driving problem, but they are only one part of it. There are laws in place that make it illegal to use a smartphone while driving, and these laws have helped to save lives.

Distracted driving accidents occurring on interstates and highways can be serious. Texting while driving at 65 miles per hour or higher on a highway is just one of the dangerous scenarios distracted drivers create. Looking away from the road and down at a phone even for a second can cause a distracted driver to swerve into another lane and smash into one or multiple vehicles.

Distracted Driving Behavior

In addition to texting, distracted driving can also involve eating and drinking while driving, turning around to talk to passengers, grooming (e.g., putting on eye shadow, combing hair while looking in the rearview mirror) or adjusting GPS/radio/video systems.

Manual distractions are the ones we are most familiar with. These are distractions that cause drivers to take their hands off the wheel. Texting, eating, smoking or rummaging in the glove box are examples of manual distractions.

Visual distractions can cause a driver’s eyes to wander away from road although their hands remain on the wheel. Looking at passengers, gazing outside windows at scenery and reading smartphone texts are examples of visual distractions.

Cognitive distractions do not take a driver’s eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel. Instead, a cognitive distraction takes a driver’s attention and focus off their driving. When drivers are deep in thought about something important to them, they can ignore the environment and direct all their cognitive energy towards thinking about whatever is bothering them.

In addition to reducing reaction times, cognitive distractions can also interfere with the ability of a driver to hear car horns, emergency vehicle sirens and pedestrians in the street.

Distracted Driving Accidents

William Mattar’s car accident attorneys represent victims of distracted drivers to help them obtain possible compensation for suffering serious, physical injuries. If you or a loved one was hit by a distracted driver and required emergency medical treatment for broken bones, lacerations or internal injury, contact us today to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Smartphones are responsible for many distracted driving accidents, but not all of them. When people think of a distracted driver, they usually picture a driver talking or texting who is paying no attention to car in front of them.

Stopping Distracted Driving

One of the ways to stop the distracted driving menace in is to get young drivers to understand the dangers of using their smartphones while driving. School programs can emphasize safe driving and parents can help young drivers to develop good driving habits such as turning off their smartphones when they turn the engine on. William Mattar law offices runs its Drive Distracted, Lives Impacted program each year, to educate teens about the dangers of distracted driving.

Parents can also insist that their teen drivers install special smartphone apps that turn phones off when the phone is in a vehicle. Generally, tools like this along with teaching young drivers good driving habits can help to decrease the amount of smartphone-based accidents.

Have You Been Injured By a Distracted Driver?

Compensation may be available if you suffered serious injuries due to a distracted driver. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to a distracted driver, call William Mattar today to schedule a free consultation appointment with an experienced car accident lawyer. They will evaluate your case and determine if you qualify for adequate compensation.

It is time to get help. ℠