Distracted driving is a significant cause of car accidents and injuries in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that distracted driving caused 3,142 fatalities in 2019, which represents a large portion of the overall driving fatalities for that year. The NHTSA also reports that distracted driving caused about 424,000 injuries to people in motor vehicle crashes in 2019.
Drivers who lack focus and allow their mind to wander while on the road account for many distracted driving accidents. Fatigue, drowsiness, or daydreaming is enough to cause your attention to lapse long enough to make an error while driving. If your eyes wander off the road for any reason, you are driving while distracted.
Although daydreaming is a top cause of distracted driving accidents, texting and driving is the number one cause. Out of all cellphone tasks, texting is the most dangerous.
Some other common causes for distracted driving car accidents include:
- Cellphone use.
- Looking at something located outside of the vehicle.
- Being distracted by a passenger.
- Reaching for something that you brought into the vehicle.
- Eating or drinking beverages while driving.
- Adjusting the audio, heater, or air conditioning.
Some lesser-known causes for distracted driving accidents include:
- Using vehicle devices or controls, like adjusting outside mirrors or buckling your seat belt.
- Lighting a cigarette.
- Being distracted by pets.
Teenagers Are Especially Vulnerable to Distracted Driving
Typically, the younger the driver, the more likely that driver will engage in distracted driving. According to the Department of Transportation and the NHTSA, in 2018, 202 teenagers were killed in distracted driving accidents. There are many reasons why teenagers are prone to distracted driving.
Teenagers typically take longer to process hazardous road conditions and how to react properly in emergencies. Inexperienced drivers improve over time as they gain more experience with the rules of the road. Parents of teenage drivers should set a good example while driving by not using their cellphone or engaging in other unlawful driving behaviors.
Another issue that greatly affects teenage drivers is the number of passengers that they carry. When a teenage driver has more than one passenger of the same age in the car, that teenager is three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. That is because the potential distractions are greater when multiple young people are in a vehicle with no parental supervision.
Teenage drivers typically engage in distracted driving far more than their older counterparts. Teenagers often use their cellphone, talk to friends, eat, adjust the radio, and even apply makeup while looking into a mirror instead of paying attention to the road. Parents can help their teenage drivers by strictly enforcing that they do not drive with more than one other teenage passenger.
States Regulate Cellphone Use
Since distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic fatalities in the United States, especially among young drivers and their passengers, most states strictly regulate cellphone use by drivers.
In Delaware, texting and driving became illegal in 2011. The state banned the use of hand-held phones and other mobile and electronic devices while driving, including laptops and games. Delaware only allows the use of hands-free devices while driving. You also cannot read, write, send text messages, email, or use the internet while driving in the state.
What are the Penalties for Cellphone Use in Delaware?
Anyone caught driving while using a hand-held cellphone or other device is subject to a $100 fine with the first offense. Subsequent offenses could net a fine between $200 and $300.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 24 states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of hand-held cellphones while driving. The offense is subject to primary enforcement, and you can be pulled over and given a ticket.
Texting and driving is banned in 48 states and the District of Columbia, and 36 states have phone use bans that specifically target young drivers.
While most states have laws designed to thwart distracted driving, it still occurs, and it is a rising concern among motorists of all ages. Many drivers are becoming more worried about the widespread use of mobile technology in vehicles.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Seek Justice for Those Injured by Distracted Drivers
Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents, injuries, and deaths in the United States. Our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you if you were injured by a negligent, distracted driver. We know how distracted driving accidents can be devastating, and we can protect your rights. For more information and to schedule a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at (302) 427-9500 today. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.