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Distracted Driving: More Than a Cellphone

When you think of distracted driving, you probably imagine texting, reading emails, or peeping at that new notification. There’s a good reason for that.

Our laws often revolve around the limitations of using a cellphone while driving. We have texting and driving simulators in high school auditoriums to raise awareness about this issue. With all this focus on texting, you might forget that distracted driving is more than a cellphone.

The truth is anything that causes you to shift focus while driving is considered a distraction. That means almost anything can be a distraction, including listening to the radio, talking to a passenger, reaching for that last french fry, reading billboards, and even daydreaming.


Types of Distracted Driving

The state of Florida recognizes three types of distracted driving.

  • Manual Distractions: Taking hands off the wheel
  • Visual Distractions: Taking eyes off the road
  • Cognitive Distractions: Thinking about anything but driving

You may be surprised to learn that cognitive distractions make up the majority of distracted driving auto accidents. Sometimes your daydreaming is so intense that you almost go into autopilot. Your focus shifts away from the road, and you don’t even realize how distracted you truly are until the moment it’s too late to hit the brakes.

Why Do We Focus on Cellphones?

That said, the reason we focus so much on cellphones is that they hit all three of those categories. You take a hand off the wheel to pick up the phone. You take your eyes off the road to look at the message. Then you use brainpower to focus on forming a response.

Even if you do it all hands-free with the help of a virtual assistant, that’s distracted driving. Even if you’re talking on the phone, you’re still shifting your mental focus away from the road. Of course, the same is true of talking to a passenger. If you don’t have your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mental focus on the rules of the road, you are engaging in distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Is More Than a Cellphone

Automobiles are inherently dangerous. They are several thousand pounds of metal, often moving over 50 miles per hour. When you get behind the wheel of your vehicle, you need to focus on the road. If you look away from the road, even for a moment, you’re putting yourself and those around you at risk. If the person in front of you suddenly hits the brakes, you must be alert and ready to respond.

While you can take steps to prevent distracted driving, other drivers are often unpredictable. If you were involved in an auto accident caused by distracted driving, you may want to consult an experienced auto injury attorney. Please give us a call at (866) 675-4427 or  send us an email at your earliest convenience.