Perhaps you have had the experience of riding with a driver who wanted to engage you in a very animated conversation or was quite emotional. Chances are, riding with such a distracted driver caused you real anxiety, maybe so much that you called it to the driver’s attention.
As annoying as it is to ride with a distracted driver, suffering an accident as a result of another driver’s inattention is even worse. You may assume texting is the big culprit that causes most drivers to lose focus on the road when actually it is not the main cause of distraction, nor is it the only source.
The top cause of driver distraction is zoning out
It may surprise you to learn that more than 50% of distraction accidents result from a driver becoming lost in thought. Indeed, in most of the serious injury and fatal accidents associated with distraction the cause is the wandering mind of a driver whose thoughts were elsewhere.
There are other sources of distraction that rival texting
Statistics recorded by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which tracks traffic fatalities not just in the Boston area but throughout the U.S., lists cellphone use as the second highest cause of crashes resulting in fatalities. Other significant distraction sources include:
- External events such as other accidents
- Paying attention to other people, pets or even insects inside the vehicle
- Fiddling with other devices, eating and drinking, smoking
- Manipulating the car’s controls and devices
Distracted driving is not the source of injuries and fatalities on the roadway. However, as you may have discovered, it is a deadly one you cannot anticipate.