What are the Top 10 Causes of Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle accident injuries and deaths. Any type of driving activity that takes a person’s eyes off the road, mind off of driving, or hand off the wheel is a recipe for disaster. There are many ways that drivers can become distracted behind the wheel, and here, we want to discuss the top ten causes of distracted driving on our roadways. Data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that approximately 3,100 individuals lost their lives, and 424,000 individuals were injured due to distracted driving during the most recent reporting year available.
1. Talking on a mobile device
Illinois law prohibits individuals from using handheld mobile devices while operating a vehicle. Individuals aged 19 and over are allowed to use Bluetooth or other hands-free devices to make or receive phone calls. However, talking on a mobile device while driving a vehicle is still a distraction.
2. Texting or inputting information into a mobile device
Illinois law also prohibits individuals from sending or receiving text messages or otherwise imputing information into a mobile device while operating a vehicle. As we have watched our phones turn into mini-computers that fit into our pockets, we have seen distractions significantly increase. Individuals rush to check their notifications, take selfies, make funny videos, etc., all while driving their vehicle.
3. Talking to passengers
Anytime there are other passengers in the vehicle, this automatically becomes a distraction. Anything that takes a person’s mind off of driving or eyes off the road becomes a distraction, and this can include talking to or looking at other passengers.
4. Moving objects or animals in the vehicle
Anytime there are loose objects or animals inside of a vehicle, this can become a significant distraction. This is particularly true if the moving objects hit the driver or if an animal is jumping around the inside of the vehicle.
5. Adjusting the audio or climate controls
Reaching to adjust the audio or climate controls in a vehicle can take a person’s mind off of driving, hands off the wheel, and eyes off the road. We strongly encourage any driver to only adjust the controls inside the vehicle when they are at a stop sign or stoplight or, even better, to do so before they leave a driveway or parking lot.
6. Reaching for a device or object
Anytime a person has to reach for a device or any other object inside the vehicle, this takes their hand off of the wheel and their eyes off of the roadway. This includes reaching into the seat next to them or into the rear of the vehicle, which is even more dangerous.
7. Looking at other distractions outside of the vehicle
We all know the term “rubbernecking,” and we are all guilty of it sometimes. It can be tempting to look at crashes, emergency lights, or any other type of disaster on the side of the road. However, doing so is incredibly dangerous because you can be sure that others around you are also doing the same thing, often placing their cars into dangerous situations.
8. Eating or drinking
Eating or drinking anything while driving a vehicle is a distraction. This will inevitably force a person to multitask in a way that puts themselves and others around them in danger.
9. Looking in the mirror
Individuals often look in the mirror when they are operating their motor vehicles. Sometimes, drivers even put on makeup or do their hair while driving. This again involves multitasking that places the driver, their passengers, and others in danger.
10. Impaired driving
Many people do not think about impaired driving when they think of distracted driving, but this is certainly another form of distracted driving. Individuals who are impaired by alcohol or drugs should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle. Not only is their driving impaired, but they can become easily distracted by other things inside and outside of the vehicle.