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Distracted Driving: It’s More than Just Your Eyes

On behalf of Donald Carter at Carter & Fulton, P.S.

Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—long enough to cover a football field at freeway speed, according to researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

As startling as this statistic may be, what many people do not realize is that texting while driving is about more than a driver’s failure to keep his or her eyes on the road. While watching the road is an extremely important part of driving safely, it is not the only thing required to prevent a crash. In fact, distraction behind the wheel comes in three distinct forms:

  • Visual: An activity that takes your eyes off the road is a visual distraction, such as looking at a map
  • Manual: Doing something that removes your hands from the steering wheel is a manual distraction, such as eating or drinking
  • Cognitive: Anything that distracts your mind from the task of driving is a cognitive distraction, such as worrying about work

Many distracting driving activities involve more than one type of distraction; for instance, changing the radio station may occupy a driver’s hands as well as his or her eyes.

Cellphone use and texting while driving is extraordinarily dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction at once: visual, manual, and cognitive. While cognitive distraction may be easy to overlook, it is in fact very real: VTTI researchers found that using a cellphone behind the wheel reduces brain activity related to driving by more than one-third. With this in mind, it may come as no surprise that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash than those who are focused on the road, according to VTTI.

Compensation for Washington Crash Victims

When distracted drivers cause traffic accidents in Washington, they can be held legally and financially liable for the damage they inflict on others—including passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians who are injured in the crash. Washington accident victims who are hurt by a driver’s reckless behavior may be able to recover compensation for the injuries and financial losses they have suffered, including hospital bills, medical expenses, rehabilitative costs, and lost income.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Washington car accident, be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before discussing the crash with an insurance adjuster or accepting an offer to settle your claim. Talking to an attorney first will help preserve your right to seek a maximum settlement for your injuries in court, and will also prevent the insurance company obtaining information about the crash that they may later construe against you in an effort to deny liability. For more information, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.

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