Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States. It’s so common that an average of nine people are killed every day from crashes caused by distracted drivers. Those who are only injured in these crashes still number over 420,000, with many requiring extensive hospital visits, large medical bills, and time spent not working.
But what is considered distracted driving? It’s defined as when someone is driving and they allow themselves to become distracted and take their attention off the road. This is vague and leaves a lot open for interpretation.
For example, you could say that drinking alcohol could be considered distracted driving because you purposely made yourself unable to focus on the road. But, under the law, drunk driving is not considered distracted driving. Another example to consider is if you naturally look at a roadway advertisement and rear-end someone in front of you. You didn’t choose to look away, but you were distracted and the law expects you to know not to look at advertisements legally allowed to distract you.
Everyone should understand what exactly is distracted driving in case they are the victim of someone who drives while distracted.
To understand what is considered distracted driving, let’s start by explaining what is considered a distraction on the road. This helps separate distracted driving from other traffic violations, such as driving under the influence.
There are four types of distractions to consider when driving:
Knowing what is considered a distraction under U.S. law, we can then detail the most common examples of what is considered distracted driving.
Some examples of distracted driving can fall under multiple types of distractions. For instance, eating can be a visual distraction as you get your food, a manual distraction as you eat and drive at the same time, and a cognitive as you put energy into eating.
Distracted driving due to visual distractions includes:
Distracted driving due to manual distractions includes:
Auditory and cognitive distractions have the most crossover of any of the four types of distractions. Distracted driving due to auditory and/or cognitive distractions includes:
Whether you were the distracted driver or hit by one, the first thing you should do is make sure you, your passengers, and the other driver are alright. Contact emergency services and once everyone is safe and/or you’ve done everything you can, photograph the scene of the accident.
It’s important to have as much evidence as possible to defend yourself both to your insurance, and in court if you need to file a lawsuit or defend yourself. If you and/or a loved one are the victims of a distracted driver, you shouldn’t have to pay for the car repairs and medical bills that follow.
Don’t fight alone, contact the injury attorneys at Scartelli and Olszewski, P.C. We’re small enough to care and big enough to fight for you.
Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr., a shareholder and managing partner at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., brings 37 years of litigation experience. He is a renowned trial lawyer in Pennsylvania, specializing in medical malpractice, personal injury, and criminal defense. Peter's notable achievements include securing multi-million-dollar verdicts and serving as District Attorney and Judge. He is committed to community involvement and is actively engaged in various legal associations.
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