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The Facts about Driver Distraction

July 24, 2014

Driving is one of the most dangerous things that people do almost every day and often without even thinking about it. The power a car has and the potential damage it can cause are rarely more than a passing concern for most drivers as the act of driving has become habit. Concentration though should be the prevalent force whenever you’re behind the wheel. Drivers who try to divide their attention or allow themselves to be distracted are at high risk of being involved in a serious accident.

A study carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 22% of crashes could be caused by driver distraction and it also showed drivers who tries to carry out a secondary task whilst behind the wheel were up to three times more likely to crash.

Brake and Direct Line have also carried out research which shows that the more complex the task, the higher the risk with drivers regularly putting themselves in danger through using hands-free phones, texting, using social media, eating, drinking or even setting the satnav or other in-car devices. Most drivers are also unable to measure the level of distraction they’re suffering until it is too late and American research has also found that 98% of drivers are unable to divide their attention without a marked deterioration in their driving performance.

Driver Distraction

Types of Driver Distraction

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents divide distraction types into four categories:

  • Auditory – when a sound distracts the driver from making good use of their hearing for driving purposes
  • Cognitive – when the driver is focused on something mentally that isn’t the task of driving the vehicle
  • Visual – when the driver sees an object or person that takes their eyes away from the driving environment and road ahead
  • Biomechanical – when a driver is doing something physical which means they’re not focused on the road, such as holding an item or reaching for something

Though some of these types of distraction are more difficult to prove than others they can all be used positively in a case to find a driver negligent where a compensation claim has been raised. You don’t want to be that driver who knows they weren’t focusing on the road and therefore all devices and elements which could be distracting should be out of reach.

Distractions can be other things such as children or passengers but where the behaviour is intrusive, parking up sensibly is the best option rather than risking all your lives and the lives of other road users.

Many road traffic accidents result in one party claiming for compensation and in many instances the statement that ‘I just didn’t see them’ is down to driver distraction and puts the negligent party in a difficult position. A professional personal injury solicitor will assess all evidence and ensure that the maximum compensation is paid to their clients, where negligence of the other party can be proven.

photo credit: tim caynes via photopin cc