The Impact of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving

A car is a powerful machine that requires skill, training, and attention. One of the biggest problems facing drivers today is that many are distracted. Taking your eyes off the road or not paying attention to the road can have deadly consequences for you or someone else on the road. Many cities and states have turned their attention to helping combat distracted driving with more driver’s education and legislation.

Types of Distractions

Most people are busy and like to try and multitask. While cellphones have a bad reputation, they are not the only source of distraction for drivers. Some of the other common culprits distracting a driver’s attention are:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Pressing buttons on the dashboard
  • Picking up something that was dropped
  • Passengers in the car

There are plenty of other distractions too, but the point is that there are all types of distractions that drivers don’t consider. Each is as dangerous as the next if it takes a driver’s attention away from the road. 

Consequences of Distracted Driving

A car traveling at 30 miles per hour will go 44 feet per second. This means looking away for 3 seconds for any reason allows your car to drive 132 feet completely unsupervised. There are many things that can happen in that much space, like a car pulling into traffic, a light changing, the vehicle in front stopping, or a child running into the road. If a driver isn’t paying attention, each of these can be dangerous for more than just the driver who is distracted.

To help emphasize the seriousness of distracted driving, many states have worked to make more consequences, including some of the following steps.

  • Most states have laws against driving while texting. 
  • Many states are working toward outlawing devices in the hands at all.
  • Other states have mandated graduated licensing laws that limit the number of passengers in the car while new drivers learn to drive
  • Devices have been created that can tell how recently a cellphone was used in an accident.
  • Police officers everywhere are watching more vigilantly for distracted drivers.

Each of these steps come with varying consequences in fines and harder sentences. Insurance carriers can also enforce their own consequences if a driver is ticketed with one of these offenses. If an accident occurs, it can also be expensive to fix or replace a totaled car.

The most serious consequences do not come in monetary form or tarnished driving records. Instead, they come from changing lives through injury or death. If a distracted driver doesn’t push the brakes at all when a vehicle or child is in the road, the impact can be fatal even at a low speed. Living with the fact that you have seriously hurt or killed another person is the hardest consequence of all.

Since distractions come in so many forms, it is important to always stay focused on the road. If something requires taking your eyes off the road, even for just a few seconds, pull out of traffic and come to a stop before dealing with it. No dropped item, text message, or button on a dashboard is worth the risk.