Main Causes of Distracted Driving in Philadelphia

Almost everyone knows that distracted driving can be dangerous, but many still engage in these behaviors. As drivers become comfortable behind the wheel, they become complacent about some common types of distracted driving. Philadelphia personal injury attorneys see many tragic cases caused by preventable distracted driving accidents. Read on to learn more about how these accidents happen, what you can do to prevent them, and how a knowledgeable lawyer can help you if a distracted driver has injured you.

What Are the Risks of Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving significantly increases your risk of an accident and endangers those around you. Many victims hurt in distracted driving crashes are pedestrians or bikers that the driver overlooked. No one would willingly drive any distance with their eyes closed, but taking your eyes off the road to change the radio station or read a text effectively leaves you driving blind.

Crashes caused by distracted driving have the potential to be severe for a couple of reasons. First, the driver often does not get a chance to react to the hazard by swerving or hitting the brakes, which leads to a more devastating impact. Second, the driver may be in an awkward position at the time of the crash if they reached for something or had their head down. Safety features such as seat belts, airbags, and backrests are most effective when the occupant is properly seated. Unfortunately, these features can do more harm than good if the individual is sitting incorrectly. These serious risks make it essential to maintain your focus at all times while driving.

What Are the Three Basic Types of Driving Distractions?

A driving distraction is anything that pulls your attention away from the task of operating your car. Even a moment’s inattention can prove dangerous when you are moving at speed. The three categories of driving distractions are:

  • Cognitive: If your mind drifts away from the task at hand and you lose focus, it is a cognitive distraction.
  • Manual: You are manually distracted if you remove your hands from the wheel or move your feet away from the pedals.
  • Visual: It is a visual distraction if you take your eyes off the road in front of you or fail to scan for hazards.

What Are the Leading Causes of Distracted Driving?

There are many ways of becoming distracted while you are driving your car, but some of the most typical causes include the following:

  • Reaching for an object within the vehicle.
  • Eating or drinking.
  • Using car controls, such as adjusting your seat or changing the radio.
  • Looking at external objects.
  • Turning around for children in the back seat.
  • Speaking to passengers.
  • Using a cell phone for talking or texting.
  • Applying makeup.
  • Daydreaming or otherwise becoming mentally distracted.
  • Attempting to kill an insect.
  • Smoking.

Is It Illegal to Use a Cell Phone While Driving in Philadelphia?

Unlike some states, Pennsylvania has no laws against speaking on a cell phone while driving. It is legal to use a handheld or a hands-free device to hold a conversation as you are operating your vehicle. Although it is legal, talking on your cell phone while driving can still be a dangerous distraction and should be avoided when possible to maintain your safety.

Pennsylvania does have a statewide ban on texting while driving. Under this ban, the driver is not allowed to send, write, or read a text-based message if the vehicle is moving. This includes messages on any Interactive Wireless Communication Devices (IWCDs), including cell phones, tablets, and personal digital assistants.

If you are caught texting while driving, there is a $50 fine plus court fees, but no points go on your record. However, if you are a commercial driver, it is noted on your record as a non-sanction violation.

What Can You Do to Avoid Distractions?

The vital thing to remember is that distracted driving is preventable, but it takes effort from everyone on the road. By following these tips, you can keep yourself safer and prevent accidents:

  • Prepare for your trip before leaving: Eat, select music, adjust your seat, and perform other tasks before you begin driving.
  • Leave home a little earlier: Rushed or stressed drivers are more likely to get distracted.
  • Talk to your teen about distracted driving: Younger drivers are more likely to drive distracted, but parents can help by instilling respect for the responsibilities and dangers of driving.
  • Remove the temptation to use your phone with an app: There are apps and settings available on smartphones that can automatically block phone calls and texts while you are driving. The app can also inform the caller that you will contact them later.

How Can a Lawyer Help if You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver?

Unfortunately, even the most careful drivers, pedestrians, and bikers can be injured by distracted drivers. If you have been hurt in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, an experienced Philadelphia distracted driving lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

If a distracted driver has injured you, you may recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit. These damages can include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage replacement and repair, and more. However, Pennsylvania has time limits on filing a distracted driving claim, so it is crucial to contact a trusted lawyer as soon as possible to begin the claims process.

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