The Causes of Distracted Driving May Surprise You

Published on June 12, 2020, by Matthew Sharp

Car Accident

The Causes of Distracted Driving May Surprise You

Distracted driving is caused by a number of factors inside and outside the car that take the driver’s focus off the road.

Distracted Drivers Pose Dangers on the Road

In the United States, car accidents account for the highest number of personal injury cases seen by car accident lawyers. Car accidents are caused by a variety of reasons, but the number one reason is distracted driving. For drivers in America, distracted driving has surpassed all other factors related to vehicle accidents and injuries. Approximately 75 percent of all fatalities from car accidents involve a distracted driver.

Although talking and texting on a cell phone is the main cause of distracted driving, the overall cause is complacency. According to safety studies, 62 percent of deaths in distracted driving accidents are caused by drivers who are simply “lost in thought” and not focused on the road. Drivers can be distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle. Using a navigation system, talking to passengers in the car, looking out the window at the scenery, and watching other drivers are all distractions that contribute to car accidents and injuries. Other common factors include:

  • Reaching for an object in the car
  • Changing radio stations
  • Adjusting temperature controls
  • Adjusting mirrors and seatbelts
  • Eating and drinking
  • Lighting or putting out a cigarette
  • An unrestrained pet in the car

According to safety experts, taking eyes off the road for just three seconds can cause a serious or fatal car crash. Three seconds is about the same amount of time it takes to turn on the ignition and start the car. Reading a text message while driving distracts a driver for a minimum of five or six seconds, so the likelihood of a crash is even higher. If a driver is texting while driving, the likelihood of a crash rises by 400 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-end crashes are the most frequent type of accident caused by distracted driving. A driver looking down instead of ahead at traffic causes about 29 percent of all vehicle accidents. Reno car accident lawyers commonly see serious whiplash injuries and head trauma caused by rear-end crashes.

Every year, approximately 421,000 people are injured in car crashes that involve a distracted driver. In 2016, 3,450 people died as a result of distracted driving. Current distracted driving statistics show that 80 percent of all car accidents are caused by the driver being distracted in some way.