Distracted driving is increasingly becoming a common occurrence for many Philadelphia drivers. Cellphones give us the luxury of performing a variety of tasks right from the palm of our hands: calling, texting, browsing the internet, taking pictures and videos, as well as checking or posting messages on social media.
Many of the same features we find on cellphones are now built into the dashboards of most new vehicles entering the market. Additionally, drivers who operate on tight schedules often find themselves multitasking behind the wheel.
What tasks cause drivers to become distracted?
According to mental health publication PsychCentral, distracted driving falls into four categories that are defined by specific actions behind the wheel.
Visual distraction involves looking anywhere other than the road ahead. Examples include:
- Looking at people, objects, or sites outside the vehicle
- Looking at people or objects inside of the vehicle
- Looking at a cellphone or infotainment system
Physical distraction involves taking hands off the wheel even when a driver's eyes are on the road. Examples include:
- Retrieving items inside the vehicle
- Eating and drinking
- Handling a cellphone
- Tuning a radio
Even when a driver's eyes are on the road and hands are on the wheel, his or her mind may be somewhere else. Examples of cognitive distraction include:
- Pre-occupying thoughts
- Highway hypnosis, when you have no recollection of traveling
Lastly, certain sounds can cause distraction and make it difficult to hear emergency sirens. Examples of audible distraction include:
- Passengers talking
- Loud children
- Loud music
- Vehicle defects that make loud noises
Drivers may experience overlap when performing other distracting tasks such texting, making or receiving calls, taking care of personal hygiene, or multitasking. Visual and manual distractions may cause problems with steering or being able to react in the event of an imminent collision. Cognitive and audible distractions may result in poor judgment and ability to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO CURB DISTRACTED DRIVING IN PHILADELPHIA?
Distracted driving has been around since the advent of cars. The rate of distracted driving crashes has significantly increased over the years, however, due to use of cellphones and other handheld technology. This has prompted lawmakers across the United States to either pass or propose legislation to crack down on cellphone use behind the wheel.
Pennsylvania is one of the many states that have a texting and driving ban in place and enforces it as a primary offense. It prohibits the act of typing, sending, or reading texts while driving and can result in a $50 fine for violators.
In 2018, Pennsylvania had a total of 14,292 crashes caused by distracted driving — 63 of them were fatal, according to PennDOT. Since other forms of distraction don't always leave behind physical evidence, or a digital trail, the number of distracted driving crashes could likely be higher.
If someone's inattention behind the wheel resulted in your injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. The Philadelphia car accident attorneys at The Hanamirian Firm, PC have more than 30 years of experience holding negligent drivers accountable and helping injured motorists maximize their compensation.
If you were hurt in a crash, don't hesitate to contact our law firm and schedule your free consultation.