Distracted driving is deadly, and you’ve likely seen the public service announcements that prove it. These ads typically feature the final text a driver sent seconds before a fatal auto accident occurred. Texting while driving is illegal in 46 states, but using your cell phone while driving in Arizona is still legal (except for the first six months of driving by teens since January, 2017). Distracted driving goes beyond cell phone use, though.
April was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. There are three categories of driving diversions: manual, visual and cognitive. Our lawyers in Prescott Valley hope you’ll use this information to recognize everyday distractions and prevent yourself from becoming part of the distracted driving statistics:
- Manual Distractions: Any time your hands stray from the wheel to switch the radio station, mess with your navigation system or when you reach for your morning coffee, you’re driving distracted. Those few seconds your hands are busy searching or reaching for something could mean the difference between life and death. Eating and driving is also a manual distraction and should be avoided.
- Visual Distractions: There’s a bit of overlap between manual and visual distractions as you typically glance at the stereo or touchscreen in your dash while you fiddle with the settings. Visual interruptions can also include looking at your phone, searching for an object in the backseat or dealing with a spilled drink.
- Cognitive Distractions: Have you ever gone into ‘autopilot’ on your drive home? Meaning you don’t quite remember taking that turn, but here you are on the street where you live? That’s a cognitive distraction because you’ve probably been daydreaming, going over your to-do list in your head or talking to a passenger.
Texting is the most dangerous distraction of all because it requires you to use your hands, your eyes and your brain to read and send a text message. The reaction delay it causes a driver is akin to that of driving while impaired (under the influence of alcohol).
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to a distracted driver, please contact our accident attorneys today at 928-778-2660 for a FREE consultation. The Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. serves clients in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Cottonwood, Arizona.