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Distracted driving means more than texting behind the wheel

According to AAA, of the 36,560 people killed in auto accidents in the U.S. in 2018, nearly 3,000 died because of a distracted driver. Most of the media attention to the problem of distracted driving crashes focuses on cellphone use, specifically texting and driving.

Texting and driving is certainly a huge safety problem. In fact, any cellphone use while driving affects the driver’s judgment, reaction time and ability to perceive the world around them. But phones are not the only things that can cause distracted driving. Anything that can divert a motorist’s focus can create the same dangerous conditions.

The things that distract drivers in Towson

Besides smartphones, common sources of distraction in motor vehicles include:

  • Food and drink
  • Changing clothing
  • Putting on makeup or fixing one’s hair
  • Entering information into a GPS device
  • Adjusting the radio or changing the song on your device
  • Helping a child in the passenger or back seat
  • Talking with passengers

Hands-free technology like voice-activated smartphones help but do not fully eliminate the distraction. Like many states, Maryland lets drivers use hands-free devices, though this does not necessarily mean someone who was distracted by such a device is not liable for the injuries they caused in a wreck.

A few seconds put lives at risk

Driving a vehicle safely requires the full attention of a trained and careful driver. A distraction that lasts just a few seconds is more than enough to cause a serious car accident. As a responsible driver, you may not be able to tell that someone next to you on the road is distracted until they are crashing into you. The violence of the impact can leave you with broken bones and aching muscles — and worse. A brain injury or spinal cord damage could disable you for the rest of your life.