The Three Types of Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 3,450 people were killed as the result of distracted driving. Distracted driving is commonly associated with texting or talking on a cell phone. However, there are a number of different distractions that can impair a driver. Law enforcement and researchers tend to divide distracted driving into three types: manual, visual, and cognitive.

Manual Distraction

Manual distractions are any distraction that involves the driver taking one or both hands off the wheel. Manual distractions include such things as eating and drinking, applying makeup, helping a child with their seatbelt, rummaging through personal belongings, smoking, and fiddling with the radio dial or air conditioning. These distractions are dangerous because, without both hands on the wheel, a driver can’t quickly react to situations in traffic.

Visual Distraction

Visual distractions are what people commonly think of when they hear about distracted driving. A visual distraction is any activity that causes a driver’s eyes to drift away from the road. This includes texting while driving, looking at a GPS navigation system, or looking at social media on a phone. Even things like reading billboards, looking at the scenery, or trying to see an accident on the road can constitute a visual distraction. Visual distractions are especially dangerous because a driver is unable to consistently assess their surroundings and watch for potential hazards in the road. A visually distracted driver may as well drive with their eyes closed.

Cognitive Distraction

Cognitive distraction is not as straightforward as manual and visual distractions. It does not involve taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. Instead, cognitive distraction is anything that causes a driver’s mind and focus to drift away from driving. Cognitive distractions include talking on a hands-free cell phone, talking to other passengers, daydreaming, or listening to the radio. According to the National Safety Council, drivers looking out the windshield can miss 50% of what’s around them when talking on the phone. Cognitive distractions can be deceiving because, while drivers look as though they are paying attention, they are not able to fully process the hazards around them.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you should have an experienced and trusted attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.