Hunter & Cassidy Law

Why are phones so dangerous behind the wheel?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Motor vehicle accidents

Life is full of distractions, and it always has been, so a lot of people think that it’s unfair for the government to keep regulating the use of cellular phones behind the wheel – especially if they consider themselves to be responsible enough to only use their phones in an emergency.

Do they have a point? They do. Even the most responsible driver may not realize that cellphones pose a “triple threat” when it comes to distracted driving. In Missouri, it’s been illegal for anybody under 21 years of age to send text messages while driving since 2009, and state officials intend to expand this rule to all drivers very soon.

Not all distractions are built alike

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving can take three different forms:

  1. Cognitive distractions: These are things that draw a driver’s mind away from what the task at hand. For example, a driver might be mentally preoccupied with the fight they had with their boss at work, and that could cause them not to pay enough attention to the traffic around them.
  2. Visual distractions: These are things that draw a driver’s eyes away from the road. For example, one of those automated, flashing billboards at the side of the road may momentarily attract a driver’s attention – and distract them from the road.
  3. Manual distractions: These are things that take a driver’s hands off the wheel. For example, a commuting driver may be so used to picking up their coffee cup and putting it back down in its holder that they can do it without either looking or even thinking about it, but that’s still a distraction.

Cellphones are unique in that they combine all three kinds of distractions. A driver who wants to read a text, for example, has to fumble for their phone, lift the device to where they can see it and process what the message says. That combo can ultimately lead to tragic accidents.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, you’re definitely not alone. Getting fair compensation for your injuries and other losses, however, may not be easy without proper legal guidance.