Driver distractions continue to put innocent lives in danger

When drivers talk and text on hand held or hands free cellphones, they are at an increased risk of causing a distracted driving car accident.

Today, it is more common than ever before to see people talking or texting on cellphones while driving. A look at cellphone use by the Pew Internet Research Project in 2015 shows that at least 64 percent of American adults own smartphones. When people in Colorado use their cellphones while driving, however, they put their lives and the lives of everyone else on the road at risk.

In 2013, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving car accidents across the country. A number of those accidents were caused by people who were using their cellphones while behind the wheel. Many states have banned the use of hand-held cellphones while driving in an attempt to lower the number of people killed in these types of accidents each year. Yet, no states prohibit motorists from using hands free cellphones, which studies show are a significant source of driver distraction.

Types of driver distraction

According to Distraction.gov, there are three types of distraction. Manual distractions occur when motorists remove their hands from the steering wheel in order to do something, like reach for an object or send a text message. When drivers engage in an activity that requires them to take their eyes off of the road, they are visually distracted. Cognitive distractions happen when a motorist removes his or her focus and concentration off of driving. There are many activities that involve a combination of these distractions, such as texting or talking on a hand held cellular device.

A closer look at cognitive distraction

Hands free devices allow motorists to talk on the phone, but leaves their hands and eyes free for driving. Studies performed on cognitive distraction showed that cognitive distraction alone is enough to cause a serious car accident. The National Safety Council reported that the human brain is unable to successfully engage in two tasks at the same time. While motorists are concentrating on their conversations, they are unable to completely focus on driving. This reduces drivers' ability to respond to hazards on the road, such as bad weather conditions, pedestrians, animals, objects and other drivers' reckless behavior. The NSC also indicated that cognitive distraction can reduce a driver's field of vision by up to 50 percent.

What to do if you become involved in a car accident

Distracted drivers can cause serious auto accidents, which can potentially injure innocent people on the road. If you have been victimized by a negligent driver, you may be eligible for compensation for any property damage, medical expenses, lost wages and emotional trauma caused by the accident. Accident victims may choose to speak with a personal injury attorney in Colorado regarding their rights and legal options.