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Distracted Driving Auto Collisions


Personal Injury

Distracted driving auto collisions are a leading cause of injury and fatality—not just in Florida, but across the nation as well. Through decades of practice experience, the Gainesville injury team at the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. have observed the devastating consequences that can occur as a result of distracted driving. Unfortunately, our culture’s practice of multi-tasking has become such that, for many motorists, engaging in distracting activities while operating a motor vehicle has almost become second nature. This belief system has caused many drivers to overlook the dangers that distracted driving presents to both ourselves, as well as other persons with whom our roadways are shared.

In an effort to promote safety and awareness, our car accident attorneys encourage you to consider the following…

There are several ways in which distracted driving can inhibit the ability to maintain reasonable control over a vehicle. As provided by the CDC, there are three primary types of recognized distractions—visual, cognitive, and manual—each of which are discussed below.

      • Visual Distraction. Viewing anything other than what is necessary in the reasonable operation of a vehicle.
      • Cognitive Distraction. Focusing on anything other than driving a vehicle, also referred to as mental distraction.
      • Manual Distraction. Removing one or both hands off, for purposes unrelated vehicle operation.

Driving distractions can be further delineated into two primary categories: (1) Distractions within a vehicle, or Internal; and (2) Distractions outside a vehicle, or External. While external distractions—an outside object, person, or event—will often cause or contribute to an accident, studies have shown that internal distractions are a more commonly listed factor in auto collisions. Our Gainesville Accident & Injury team discuss some of the most frequently identified sources of internal distractions below.

Many distracted driving accidents are associated with the driver’s use of a component attached to the actual vehicle. For example, adjusting the radio, cassette, CD, or climate controls of a vehicle affects a driver’s visual, manual, as well as cognitive functions. Likewise, a motorist’s use of other items, whether or not attached to the vehicle, including GPS devices, I-Pods, MP3 players, and other mobile devices, can each produce dangerous distractions. An increasing issue in auto accidents is the use of cellular phones while driving, in particular texting while driving.

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An additional type of distractions is when a driver engages in another type of activity that is entirely unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle. While activities such as smoking, eating, or drinking can all increase the likelihood of a crash, many drivers engage in far more dangerous actions while driving. Personal grooming related distractions– applying cosmetics, styling hair, and even shaving—are all common occurrences.  In some cases, drivers may attempt to undertake far more risky tasks, such as dressing or changing clothing while driving.

Factors associated with passengers or cargo can also encumber a motorist’s capability to act or react in a reasonable manner. For example, concerns over shifting cargo, roaming animals, unrestrained children, or other objects or persons moving about a vehicle, are all dangerous types of distractions. In some cases, verbal interaction with another vehicle occupant alone can create a distraction significant enough to cause an accident.

Appallingly, many accidents are attributed to a subsequent internal distraction that occurs as a result of a driver’s involvement in an initial distracting activity. For example, searching for a dropped item, such as a piece of food, mobile device, lit cigarette, or mobile device, can greatly impede each of the three primary functional abilities—manual, visual, and cognitive—which are vital to maintaining reasonable control of a vehicle.

While there have been numerous studies identifying common sources of internal distractions, it is also necessary to take into consideration the fact that the risks associated with a particular distraction are also dependent on other factors, such as driver experience. The correlation between the experience of a driver, and the risk of crashing as a result of distracted driving, is a well-recognized fact. In particular, newly licensed and teen drivers, due to their inexperience, are at a much higher risk of distracted driving related accidents.

The Gainesville Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. encourage all motorists to examine their own driving habits, and make a valid effort to eliminate any driving distractions that take your eyes, hands, or mind, off the task of driving.