Distracted driving shouldn't happen — but it does

Drivers face many types of distractions while they are behind the wheel. It is up to each driver to make sure that they focus on getting to their destination safely. When drivers don't do this, they can cause accidents.

Many states have taken steps to prevent distracted driving. These include setting laws that forbid actions like texting while driving and implementing harsh penalties for these actions. Here are some points that everyone who drives should remember about distracted driving:

Primary offense

Texting while driving is a primary offense for drivers who are 21 or younger. This means that police officers can pull them over if they see them texting. Unfortunately, tickets for texting while driving come with a small fine of $20.50, which might not stop them from texting while they are behind the wheel.

Drivers who are 21 and older don't have any prohibitions against texting and driving except for some limited laws against distracted driving. This brings up a question of how effective broad laws are without having specific ones that target texting while driving for drivers of all ages.

Distractions are more than texts

While it is easy to associate distractions with only texting, there are many more types of distractions that drivers need to realize. These include everything from changing the radio station to reading highway billboards. Talking to other people in the vehicle, reaching for something on the floorboard or seat, eating a quick bite and putting on makeup are other forms of distractions in which drivers may be engaged.

Anything that takes a driver's mind off of the road is a distraction, but the same is true if the driver has to take a hand off the wheel or their eyes off the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists manual, visual and cognitive functions as the types of distractions that occur while driving.

Scope of the issue

Across the country each day, more than 1,000 people are injured in accidents with distractions as contributing factors. On top of that, around nine people die in this country daily in these crashes. This shows how serious the scope of the problem is, as most — if not all — of these collisions could have been avoided if the driver wasn't distracted.

For people who are injured in a distracted driving crash, the road to recovery might be very long. Not only will you have to deal with the physical injuries, you might also be healing from the emotional turmoil that accompanies these accidents.

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