Distracted driving is more than just texting and driving

While texting and driving is dangerous, it isn’t the only form of distraction that threatens the lives of drivers and those on the road with them.

Many drivers in Utah wrongly believe that they become distracted only when they read or send text messages to another person as they operate a vehicle. However, texting and driving is not the only form of distraction that endangers the lives of others out on the road.

The three types of distraction

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three primary types of distraction. These include the following:

  • Manual-This occurs when a driver takes their hands off of the steering wheel. For instance, a driver who reaches for their cellphone on the passenger seat next to them is manually distracted.
  • Cognitive-This form of distraction is defined as any activity that prevents a driver from fully focusing on driving. For example, a driver who intently listens to a song on the radio is cognitively distracted.
  • Visual-Any driver who takes their eyes off of the road in front of them is visually distracted. For instance, a driver becomes distracted visually when they look at their navigation device instead of the road.

To prevent motor vehicle accidents that can cause life-altering injuries, KSL states that the state of Utah recently tightened the restrictions on their cellphone ban. Now, drivers are prohibited from doing things like dialing a phone number, accessing the web, taking pictures, using the internet and participating in other distracting activities with their cellphone.

Hands-free systems aren't necessarily safe

Although this new legislation has the potential to minimize the number of collisions that occur on roadways in Utah every day, drivers can still become cognitively distracted when they use the infotainment system in their vehicle. According to Fox News, two studies recently revealed that instead of making the distracted driving problem better, these systems merely make it worse.

In one of these studies, drivers operated vehicles with infotainment systems in them from various manufacturers in several different driving situations. The level of distraction these devices caused was then rated on a scale of one to five, with one being the least distracting and five being the most distracting to drivers.

This particular study found that the infotainment systems that distracted drivers the most were the ones that made mistakes. For example, when attempting to change the radio station in their car using this technology, the system may mix up the numbers the driver recites and switch the music to the wrong station.

When a driver becomes cognitively, manually or visually distracted, they compromise their ability to operate a vehicle safely. If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, consult with an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights.