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Distracted Driving Extends Beyond Cellphones

Posted on in Car Accidents

Distracted Driving Extends Beyond CellphonesDiscussions on distracted driving often focus on drivers using cellphones. Illinois is one of several states to criminalize talking or texting on a handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. However, cellphones are not the only culprits in distracted driving. People regularly perform actions while driving that are legal but qualify as distracting. Any activity that momentarily shifts a person’s attention away from driving can cause a vehicle accident with personal injuries.

Physical Distractions

The obvious danger of using a cellphone while driving is that it takes a driver’s hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. In the moment that someone’s attention is drawn to his or her phone, an unexpected obstacle may appear in front of him or her. By the time the driver sees the danger, it may be too late to react and avoid an accident. There are other activities that demand the attention of someone’s eyes and hands, such as:

  • Eating and drinking;
  • Grooming;
  • Changing the radio station;
  • Searching for an item; or
  • Tending to children.

Mental Distractions

Many drivers obey the cellphone ban by using a hands-free system to have phone conversations. However, studies have shown that hands-free phone calls are still distracting to drivers. Their eyes and hands may be in the correct positions, but their minds are not focused on the task of driving. Other examples of cognitive distractions include:

  • Talking to passengers;
  • Listening to an engaging radio show or podcast; and
  • Obsessing over a recent trauma.

Fallacy of Multitasking

Driving has become such a routine activity that some people treat it as a free time to take care of other tasks. They may catch up on a missed meal, apply makeup or make a phone call while driving, which they consider multitasking. A person’s brain may allow his or her body to perform more than one task, but it can only focus on one task at a time. A driver who is also performing another task is switching his or her attention between driving and the other task. The driver is able to get away with it as long as nothing happens that needs his or her immediate attention. It is when unexpected situations occur that the driver may fail to respond.

Determining Cause

Performing a distracting activity while driving can be legal but still hold consequences in a personal injury case. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can show that the driver who caused your injuries was negligent due to a distraction. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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