While the list of driving distractions seems endless, there are some activities that stand head and shoulders above others as the most dangerous ones. Drivers can be distracted by eating, drinking, personal grooming, reading, talking to passengers or countless other activities that pull attention from the task at hand. Unfortunately, manipulating electronic devices is a distraction that is both common and deadly.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles cautions drivers that distractions can fall into three categories:
- Visual distractions mean the driver has stopped watching the road and the other vehicles sharing the area.
- Manual distractions entail the driver taking his or her hands off the steering wheel to touch or grab an item unrelated to the safe operation of the vehicle.
- Cognitive distractions generally relate to wandering thoughts. The driver’s focus and attention leave the act of driving to center on a different activity.
While all driving distractions fall into one of these categories, many actually overlap into multiple areas. It is widely accepted that texting while driving represents the most dangerous activity as it can overlap all three types of distractions.
In fact, Florida Statutes prohibit these activities with the statement:
“A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email and instant message.”
Distracted drivers can cause deadly collisions on highways and city streets alike. These collisions can lead to serious injuries including brain damage, spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputation and broken bones. It is not uncommon for car, truck or motorcycle collisions to result in the death of vehicle occupants.