If you answered yes to this question, you are not alone. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, distractions is the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents. The study entitled “Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study” looked at more than 3,500 drivers between the ages of 18 and 98 over a three year period. Special video monitors were placed in each quickly along with special devices that monitored information such as location and speed.

After focusing their attention on 905 crashes that involved personal injury and/or property damage, it became clear to the researches that distracted driving was increasing not decreasing. Almost 75 percent of the crashes involved some type of error and 68 percent of the time drivers were distracted at the time of the collision. Tom Dingus, director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute said, “We now have a very clear picture that distraction continues to be a great detriment to driver safety, despite growing awareness that engaging in a distracting activity is risky.”

The results revealed any type of distraction that takes your focus away from driving increases your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, the most dangerous distractions are those that require you to take your eyes off the road such as:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Adjusting the radio or other controls
  • Reaching for objects
  • Dialing a cell phone
  • Using touch screens on the dashboard or other electronic devices

Even less risky behaviors such as grooming, eating, interacting with other occupants in the vehicle and tuning the radio can also increase your risk for being involved in a distracted driving accident. Dr. Karen Sheehan, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, pointed out what some of us may have already thought. These drivers knew they were being watched; therefore, how many chances do drivers take when they believe no one is watching.

What Distraction Increases Accident Risk Tenfold?

TreeHugger also reviewed the data from the Virginia Tech study and pointed out another very alarming discovery. Drivers who operate a vehicle while they are observably angry, sad, crying, or emotionally agitated increase their crash risk nearly tenfold. The author of the TreeHugger article, Melissa Breyer, made an interest comment to sum up her report. “I’m concerned, when driving the one and only focus should be on the road – I’m from the “these crazy horseless carriages are terrifying” camp – but knowing that a tender emotional state can have such a significant impact is important. From hereon, happy driving only.”

Emotional driving is yet another dangerous driving decision you must warn your teen drivers about as they take to the roads without you as co-pilot.  Begin teaching this lesson early by practicing “happy driving only” in front of your kids. You will do them a favor and protect yourself and your children at the same time.

Have You Been Injured By A Distracted Driver In Fresno, CA Or In The Surrounding Central California Valley?

The car accident attorneys of Torem & Associates represent injured victims in the Central California Valley area and throughout California. Call us at 1-800-954-4444 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. For your convenience, you may also chat with a representative on our website 24/7.