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Distracted driving and those most likely to experience a crash

A wide variety of federal agencies, nonprofits and watchdog groups monitor highway crashes and examine the causes behind them. 

Distracted driving is a major issue in every state. What exactly is distracted driving and who is most at risk for involvement in a crash? 

What distraction means

In terms of driving distractions, cellphone use comes immediately to mind. While calling, texting and reading emails while driving are reasons for concern, there are other types of distraction. In fact, anything that takes your attention away from operating a vehicle is a distraction. There are three types: 

            – Visual, which refers to taking your eyes off the road 

            – Manual, or taking your hands off the steering wheel 

            – Cognitive, which means taking your mind away from the task of driving 

How many crashes occur

According to 2018 statistics compiled through research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving was responsible for injuries to roughly 400,000 people that year as well as the deaths of 2,800 more. The numbers include pedestrians and bicyclists who became victims of distracted driving. 

Who are most at risk

CDC data shows that in 2018, 25% of the distracted drivers involved in crashes that produced fatalities were young adults aged 20 to 29. However, the age group most likely to become distracted consisted of drivers aged 15 to 19. 

Why cellphone use matters

Distractions abound for drivers, from catching a glimpse of a highway billboard to taking a sip of coffee. However, one of the most dangerous distractions is cellphone use because this requires employing all three forms: visual, manual and cognitive. Moreover, the examination of cellphone records following a crash can tell advocates for the victim how the crash occurred and therefore help determine responsibility.