What is Distracted Driving?

May 10, 2023

When we examine information presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can see that driving distractions can be broken down into three main categories: visual, manual, and cognitive. Here, we want to examine what each of these types of distractions means, look at some data surrounding distracted driving across the country, and discuss safety measures individuals can take to protect themselves.

The Three Types of Driving Distractions

There are three main types of distraction that can occur behind the wheel:

  1. Visual distraction – taking eyes off the roadway
  2. Manual distraction – taking hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive distraction – taking your mind off of driving

Looking at these three definitions, we can see that there are many activities that fall under these types of distractions. In fact, some types of distractions encompass more than one type of distraction just mentioned. Some of the most common types of distracted driving that individuals are aware of, and one that West Virginia has passed a law to address, is operating a vehicle while using a mobile device. Currently, drivers in West Virginia are not allowed to use a cell phone without some type of hands-free technology while they operate a vehicle.

Indeed, mobile devices do seem to be the main distraction for individuals and vehicles nowadays. With the massive influx of smartphone technology and the use of other types of electronic devices, it is not uncommon to see individuals scrolling social media, sending text messages, reading emails, creating social media posts, and more, all while operating their vehicles.

The CDC says that a person sending or reading a text message while driving at 55 mph will effectively drive the length of a football field with their eyes closed.

However, mobile devices are not the only type of distraction that can cause accidents on the roadway. Some of the other main types of distractions that create hazards include:

  • Eating or drinking behind the wheel
  • Talking to others inside the vehicle
  • Managing pets inside of the vehicle
  • Reaching for items in other seats
  • Daydreaming
  • Looking at something on the roadside (rubbernecking)
  • Adjusting the radio, GPS, or climate controls

Anything that effectively takes a person’s eyes off the roadway, hands off the wheel, or mind off of driving should be considered distracted driving. Individuals must work to eliminate distractions when they operate motor vehicles in West Virginia.

Distracted Driving Data

According to the CDC, approximately nine people lose their lives each day across the country as a result of distracted driving behaviors. Data indicates that more than 3,500 individuals lost their lives, and approximately 424,000 individuals sustained injuries in a crash involving A distracted driver during the most recent reporting year on file.

The data also indicates that approximately 20% of individuals who died as a result of a distracted driver during that same year were not in vehicles at all. They were pedestrians, bicyclists, and others on or around the roadway.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the actions of a distracted driver in West Virginia, we encourage you to reach out to a Martinsburg accident attorney for assistance as soon as possible. You deserve compensation, and your attorney can help you through this.


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