People usually equate the phrase driving under the influence with drunk driving. Ironically, as the number of fatalities caused by drunk driving is finally decreasing, driving under the influence of technological devices is emerging as a new public safety hazard. However, daydreaming or spacing out might be an even bigger problem.
One analysis of national traffic accident records from 2010 and 2011 shows that distracted driving was responsible for 6,500 traffic accident fatalities, or 10 percent of the total. Other statistics estimate that 16 percent of traffic fatalities and 80 percent of car crashes are caused by distracted driving.
According to police accident reports, the breakdown of deadly inattentive driving habits is as follows:
- Daydreaming, 62 percent
- Texting or talking on a cell phone, 12 percent
- Distracted by something outside the car, 7 percent
- Distracted by passengers in the car, 5 percent
- Other (adjusting dials, eating, reaching for objects, smoking), 9 percent
These numbers are difficult to verify, since some people may have reported that they were daydreaming before their crash instead of texting given that this activity is illegal in many states. For instance, Colorado law prohibits all drivers from texting and drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a cell phone at all.
There is no way to make daydreaming while driving illegal, but every driver can make an effort to be more attentive and focused. Limit your use of devices, including voice-activated gadgets. If you must take a phone call, program your GPS device or update your Facebook status, pull over.
Proving that the at-fault driver in a car crash was distracted is not as easy as getting evidence that they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Experienced attorneys can help you successfully resolve all types of car accident injury claims.