The Most Common Causes That Lead to Distracted Driving

Dec 17, 2018


  • Each day, distracted driving kills 9 people and injures more than 1,000
  • Distracted driving is a cause in 58% of all teen crashes
  • Cell phone use was a factor in 486 road accident fatalities in 2016


Safe driving demands many things. It requires careful planning and anticipating danger, such as knowing how you’re going to get home safely after a night of drinking. However, one of the most effective safe driving rules is incredibly simple: don’t get distracted.

The plain truth is that distracted driving can be just as deadly as things like drunk driving or speeding. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), accidents involving a distracted driver kill 9 people and injure more than 1,000 each day. Distracted driving is reportedly a factor in 25% of all fatal vehicle crashes, and distractions cause 58% of all teen driver crashes.

Our Pensacola car accident lawyers have seen the victims of such accidents first-hand, and the results can be life altering. If these victims didn’t have the ability to pursue an injury claim against negligent drivers to obtain compensation for their medical costs, lost wages, disability, and suffering, they may have been saddled with insurmountable debt for the rest of their lives.

So be wary of negligent distracted drivers on the road, and don’t become one yourself by exercising self control to avoid the following 4 most common causes of distracted driving.

1. Cell Phone Use

1. Cell Phone Use

Looking at the sources of distraction, cell phones are unsurprisingly one of the biggest out there.

Data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that there were 444 crashes in 2016 involving drivers distracted by their cell phones, leading to 486 deaths.

Note that cell phone use can involve many things, especially now that smartphones exist. Talking on the phone is a major distraction, even if you’re using a hands free system.

Naturally, looking at a screen is an even bigger distraction since it takes your eyes off the road and puts your mind into a virtual space. Texting, checking emails, browsing online, viewing notifications, and fiddling with a GPS app can all significantly raise the risk of a serious crash.

Recognizing these dangers, neighboring states like Georgia have implemented a hands-free law. Florida has not yet passed these laws, but drivers traveling to other states should know that their cell phone use can raise their risk of an expensive ticket on top of their risk of getting in a crash.

2. Letting Your Mind Wander

2. Losing Focus and Letting Your Mind Wander

Driving involves an incredibly complex set of ongoing tasks that can tax your mental, visual, and motor skills functions. Being mentally engaged is by far the most important element of safe driving. Drivers must observe everything outside their windows and translate that information into an appropriate decision. When we let our minds wander or we focus too intensely on a tangential train of thought, our ability to process everything and make decisions quickly goes out the figurative window.

As much as 62% of crashes are reportedly caused by unfocused drivers, making it the biggest category of distracted driving. That category includes drivers distracted by internal things like thoughts, emotions, or plans.

Something as innocent as daydreaming about a movie you saw or mulling over a fight you had with a loved one can therefore be even more dangerous than texting while driving. It can only take 3 seconds from the time a driver is distracted for an accident to occur.

Stay focused on driving, keep tabs on how much your mind is wandering, and remember how important it is to stay engaged with the task at hand.

3. Talking to Passengers

3. Talking to Passengers

Having chatty passengers in your vehicle can be a major distraction, especially if you’re a teen. While these passengers can serve as another set of eyes and ears, they can strongly encourage you to either look at them — taking your eyes of the road — or think intensely about the conversation — taking your mind off of driving tasks.

Teens are especially vulnerable to such distractions. Young brains have more trouble multitasking and tend to get more excited about social interactions. Male teens can also increase their risk of making aggressive or risky maneuvers when they can show off to a friend in the car.

4. Eating, Drinking, Adjusting Controls, Applying Makeup

4. Eating, Drinking, Adjusting Controls, Applying Makeup

Manual tasks, no matter how quickly they take, can create tremendous distractions on the road. A common source of distraction, for example, comes from adjusting audio or temperature controls. These tasks account for 2% of traffic fatalities where distracted driving was involved.

Other manual tasks can be just as risky, especially if they require your eyes to be taken off the road. People applying makeup, grooming, looking for dropped items, or trying to deal with fussy young passengers can quickly find themselves in an unexpected collision. Some people have even been reported trying to read books while driving!

How a Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You After an Accident with a Distracted Driver

Sometimes no matter how much you avoid distractions yourself, another driver can come along and get into a crash with you because of some distractions of their own.

If you find yourself injured in a serious car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for a settlement or injury award to cover your damages. These damages can include medical bills, costs related to your injury pain and suffering, lost income, compensation for lifelong disability, and more.

Do not hesitate to contact our Pensacola car accident lawyers regarding your claim after your accident. Even if you contributed to the accident in some way, you may be eligible for partial or total damages recovery.

You can get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney team when you call Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon today or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.