When you are behind the wheel, you need to be attentive every second. A momentary lapse in attention when you are driving can have serious or fatal consequences.
In addition to being mindful to avoid distractions, you also need to be conscientious of other drivers on the road who may not be paying attention.
What are the different types of distraction?
The first thing that comes to mind when you think about distracted driving is talking on the phone or texting. Most states including Wisconsin have laws prohibiting the use of a handheld device.
It is important to bear in mind that several other forms of distraction may lead to accidents and injuries. Anything that makes drivers take their eyes off of their road or their hands off of the wheel can be hazardous. Likewise, drivers risk accidents with simple cognitive distractions when they need to be focusing on the road.
How serious is the problem nationally?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that over 424,000 people sustained an injury in an accident involving a distracted driver in 2019. The CDC also reported that 3100 people died as a result of their injuries.
How pervasive is distracted driving in Wisconsin?
Unfortunately, accidents attributable to distraction are still on the rise in Wisconsin. The Department of Transportation reported that there were over 10,000 crashes in 2021 in which distraction was a key factor, representing a 13% increase year over year.
Ultimately, all drivers need to be vigilant about distractions. Exercising good situational awareness and practicing defensive driving habits can prevent accidents.