The Deadly Risks of Distracted Driving
Automobiles provide us with a lifestyle to which we are accustomed, but they also create thousands of dangerous and deadly situations every year. Driving is challenging enough, but distracted driving has dramatically evolved through the digital age. Before the onset of cell phones and GPS devices, distracted driving only included talking to other passengers and singing along to the radio. In today’s world, portable technology has created an entirely new dimension of distracted driving threats. Just like the well-known Drinking and Driving campaign, Driving While Distracted is now an accepted term that government entities and non-profit organizations are dedicating themselves to eradicating.
Types of Distracted Driving
Any task that diverts the driver’s attention from the primary role of driving is considered distracted driving, but the most prevalent form is now texting because it requires visual, cognitive, and manual skills that divert far more attention from driving than other tasks. In order to send a text message, the driver must look away from the road to confirm his message is properly displayed on the screen, take his hands away from the steering wheel to type, and split his focus away from the road in order to cognitively compose a text and control his fingers to type the message.
Impacts of Distracted Driving
It’s not hard to find a heartbreaking story about distracted driving, but one news story in particular has garnered national headlines. A widower recently filed a $10 million lawsuit against a truck driver who killed his wife and three children by crashing into their stationary, broken-down car. Cited in the lawsuit, the widower explains that the truck driver was distracted by his cell phone and, had he been giving his full attention to the road, could have stopped before hitting the car and causing four deaths. The man so deeply impacted by one driver’s actions is hoping that the attention on his case can improve safety and collision-avoidance systems, particularly in tractor trailers.