What are the Most Dangerous Driving Distractions?
By now, most of us know that distracted driving is extremely dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1,000 people are injured in distracted driving accidents every day, and each year thousands of people lose their lives due to the negligence of distracted drivers.
While distracted driving awareness campaigns often focus on the risks of texting and using social media, according to data from the NHTSA and AAA, these are not actually the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. So, what are the most dangerous driving distractions?
Ranking 5 of the Top Driving Distractions
1. Talking to Passengers
As reported by the Washington Post, talking to passengers is by far the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Citing data from the NHTSA, the Washington Post reports that 57 percent of all accidents caused by distracted driving involve conversations with passengers. According to the NHTSA’s data, cell phone use ranked second at just 12 percent.
2. GPS Navigation
While the NHTSA ranks cell phone use as the second-most dangerous driving distraction, according to AAA, programming GPS navigation actually creates a higher level of distraction. According to AAA, on average, it takes drivers 40 seconds to set a destination using their in-car navigation system.
No matter where it ranks on the list, texting behind the wheel is undeniably a major risk for everyone on the road. According to data published by the NHTSA, it takes five seconds to read an average text message. At highway speeds, a vehicle will travel the length of an entire football stadium in this amount of time. Sending emails and using social media present similar levels of risk as well.
4. Handheld and Hands-Free Calling
Despite legislative efforts focused on banning handheld cell phone use, the data suggest that there is little, if any difference, in the level of distraction caused by handheld and hands-free calling. The NHTSA and AAA lump both types of calling together; and, according to AAA, talking on the phone is only slightly less dangerous than texting while driving. As stated by AAA:
“Hands-free, voice-command features and other interactive technologies increasingly common in new vehicles may create visual and mental distractions that unintentionally provide motorists with a false sense of security about their safety behind the wheel. Just because a technology is available in your vehicle, does not mean it is safe to use while driving.”
5. Other In-Car Distractions
Following cell phone use, other in-car distractions round out both the NHTSA’s and AAA’s lists of the most-common distractions leading to auto accidents. These include distractions such as:
- Listening to the radio
- Personal grooming
- Eating and drinking
- Swatting at bugs
- Actions of passengers
Were You Injured by a Distracted Driver in Denver?
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, the Denver accident lawyers at Levine Law can help you recover just compensation for your injuries and losses. We offer free initial consultations, and you pay nothing unless we win. To find out if you are entitled to a financial recovery, call us 24/7 at 303-333-8000, or send us your information and we will be in touch as soon as possible.