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Distracted Driving: A Preventable Epidemic


Distracted driving is something that has been around since the invention of the automobile. There are distractions among us during nearly anything we do. While at work we have to avoid distractions like talking to co-workers, browsing the web, or going on our phones, otherwise, our job security may be at risk. Sitting behind the wheel is no different. Distractions will come and go, and it’s up to the driver whether or not they allow themselves to give in to the distractions.

People know they are not supposed to participate in distracting activities while at work, due to the risk of losing their job. However, the same can’t be said about driving distracted. While many drivers know that driving distracted is dangerous, they still choose to become distracted behind the wheel.

What Is Distracted Driving?

When the phrase “distracted driving” is brought up, you may hear “Millennials are always driving distracted because of those dang cellphones,” or something similar. All too often society defines distracted driving as using your cellphone behind the wheel. While this is true, and cellphones are the most common (and dangerous) form of driving distracted, there are many other distractions that drivers do every day.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has categorized distracted driving into three different forms:


Visual distractions are those that cause you to take your eyes away from the road. These distractions are dangerous because having your eyes away from the road for only 5 seconds means you covered the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. As you can imagine, a lot of things can happen during that time, and having your eyes away from the road means you are unable to adapt to keep yourself and others safe.

Some of the most common visual distractions include:

  • Cellphone usage

  • Changing the radio

  • Changing your GPS

  • Turning to talk with passengers

  • Watching a video/movie


Manual distractions are those that take your hands away from the wheel. These distractions are dangerous because if your hands are not on the wheel you will have an incredibly hard time controlling your vehicle. While this may seem like the most obvious form of driving distracted, many people commit manual distractions every day on their normal commute.

Commonly seen manual distractions are:

  • Cellphone usage

  • Applying make-up

  • Doing your hair

  • Eating

  • Passing/receiving items to/from passengers

As you can see, many of these distractions are things that we do on the way to and from work. We often hear “I don’t have time, I’ll just do it in the car,” when talking about things like eating, doing hair, or grooming ourselves.

Be sure to do these activities before or after you begin your commute. If you don’t have the time to eat before leaving, start leaving earlier—it could save a life.


Cognitive distractions are perhaps the most common distraction that drivers face, as they come in a variety of different forms. A cognitive distraction is one that causes you to take your mind off of driving.

This includes:

  • Cellphone usage

  • Talking to passengers

  • Watching a movie/video

  • Listening to a podcast

  • Calling someone

  • Driving while emotional

Almost anything can become a cognitive distraction if it impacts your ability to focus on the road ahead. For instance, you get in a fight with your significant other and you’re left feeling many mixed emotions. You then hop in your car and drive with all of these emotions running through your mind, “What does this mean for our relationship? Are we going to get back together? Who will get the house?” These questions and thoughts all take your attention away from the road and are considered cognitive distractions.

Situations like these are where it’s extremely important to understand the dangers of driving distracted. It’s easy to say that you can just ignore the feelings and drive as normal, however, that’s often easier said than done. If you’re in a situation where you are overwhelmed with emotion, take time to clear your mind before driving anywhere.

Preventative Methods

You may notice a trend within the different forms of distracted driving—all of the distractions listed are completely preventable. That’s right, distracted driving is a silent epidemic that has the ability to not exist, simply by having drivers choose to not partake. There is no need for preventative methods when abstinence is a guaranteed method, with a 100% success rate.

Piering Law Firm Knows of the Dangers Associated With Distracted Driving

At Piering Law Firm, our team of trusted Sacramento auto accident attorneys has been helping those injured due to negligent drivers pursue compensation, allowing them a proper recovery and the ability to return to their prior lifestyles for countless years. We understand that driving distracted is a selfless act that puts the safety of others in danger, and we will fight until the negligent parties are held responsible for their actions.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, call us today (916) 476-2399 to learn how we can help. We will listen to your story and offer legal advice over a free consultation, allowing you to focus on recovering.

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