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The many layers of distracted driving

It is not uncommon for drivers to think they can "handle" distractions -- whether it is youthful confidence or a veteran driver's belief that their skill overshadows any possible danger. The reality, however, is that drivers of any age and skill level can be distracted by dozens of activities or events going on around them.

You've likely seen commercials, heard radio ads or read a billboard while driving (a distraction in and of itself) encouraging you to avoid distractions. New York has even created legislation that makes using a handheld electronic device while driving illegal. Unfortunately, even with the harsh penalties and constant reminders, drivers continue to put lives at risk by not paying attention to the road.

If you were in a collision caused by a distracted driver, it is possible that you've suffered serious injuries. Head trauma, spinal cord damage or even paralysis can result from these severe collisions. The issue is that drivers can be distracted by nearly anything - anything that takes their focus away from the road.

The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee notes that distractions can be put into three different categories.

  • Personal distractions: These are distractions that the driver imparts upon himself or herself. Things like reading, writing, eating, personal grooming or talking on the phone can all be personal distractions. Likewise, daydreaming or the use of drugs or alcohol can impact a driver's ability to safely pilot the vehicle.
  • Internal distractions: These distractions are caused by activities in the car. Passengers or animals in the car might make it hard to focus on the road.
  • External distractions: Just like the billboard mentioned above, other things going on around the road can be distracting. Other cars on the road, road signs or even bad weather can make it tough to drive safely.

While not all distractions - such as inclement weather - can be avoided, it is crucial that a driver do everything in his or her power to remain focused on the road. Accidents caused by distracted drivers can result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. If you were injured in an accident caused by driver negligence, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your legal options for monetary compensation.

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