How Does Distracted Driving Affect a Motorist’s Capabilities?

The dangers of cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving have been known for years, prompting every US state to enact legislation restricting risky acts in various ways. Despite these efforts, statistics compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that motorists are still violating the laws far too frequently. In 2018, more than 2,800 people were killed and around 400,000 individuals were injured in traffic collisions involving driver distraction. By 2019, the number of fatalities increased to 3,140, so deadly distracted driving accidents are on the rise.

While you might be well-aware that using the phone while driving is risky, you might not have considered the reasons why. Experts generally point to three key areas that impact the motorist’s capabilities. An Alaska distracted driving car accident lawyer knows about how such misconduct affects your case, though some background is informative.

Effects of Cell Phone Use While Driving 

When texting, talking on the phone, or surfing the internet, a motorist is affected in three ways: 

  • Visual: Taking eyes off the road for even a second can prevent a driver from spotting threats, which means delays in taking action to avoid a crash. The CDC estimates that the five seconds to read and/or reply to a text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded, when traveling 55 miles per hour.
  • Manual: A motorist needs both hands to steer the vehicle and interact with other essential systems, so using a phone with one hand imposes manual limitations. The fraction of a second it takes to put down the device could make a huge difference.
  • Cognitive: When in a phone conversation, reviewing a message, or typing, the driver’s thoughts are elsewhere. The only thing on a motorist’s mind should be safe operation of the vehicle.


Non-Cell Phone Distracted Driving

Many of the laws and statistics about distracted driving focus on use of cell phones and other electronic devices, but there are other activities that pose a high risk of collisions. For instance, a driver could experience the same three effects described above by:

  • Eating or drinking;
  • Adjusting the radio;
  • Interacting with a GPS;
  • Driving with a pet on the motorist’s lap; and,
  • Grooming or putting on makeup.


Liability for Distracted Driving Accidents

Though underlying causes vary, auto collisions in Alaska are usually caused by negligence. You may be entitled to compensation if you can prove the other motorist failed to drive safely, and this misconduct was the direct cause of the crash. The risks of distracted driving are clear, which means evidence of cell phone usage or other distracting activities would be solid proof in your traffic crash claim.

Set up a Consultation With an Anchorage, Alaska Car Accidents Lawyer

For more information about your legal options after a distracted driving collision, please contact Power & Power Law to set up a free consultation. You can call our Anchorage, Alaska at 907-222-9990 or check us out online. After reviewing your situation, we can explain the claims process.