Distracted driving is more than texting and driving

There are many activities besides cellphone use that can distract drivers, like eating, talking to passengers and looking at a GPS device.

Many drivers in Ohio automatically assume that if they are not texting or talking on their cellphone behind the wheel, they are not distracted. However, many other types of distracted driving exist, and they can result in serious and even fatal car accidents.

The main types of driver distraction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver's full attention away from driving. There are also three main types of distraction, and they include the following:

  1. Manual-This form of driver distraction occurs when drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel. For example, a driver becomes manually distracted when he or she reaches for something on the passenger or back seat of the vehicle.
  2. Visual-Drivers who remove their eyes from the road in front of them become visually distracted. If, for example, a driver looks at a GPS device for directions instead of the road, he or she is visually distracted.
  3. Cognitive-When drivers stop focusing on driving, they become cognitively distracted. For instance, a driver who focuses on a conversation with a passenger instead of driving is cognitively distracted.

Whether eating, trying to put on makeup during their commute, talking on their cellphone or changing the radio station, any distraction can endanger the lives of other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. However, it is important to note that using a cellphone while driving is particularly dangerous because it combines cognitive, manual and visual distraction.

Distracted driving in Ohio

While cellphone use causes many accidents in Ohio every year, the Ohio State Highway Patrol states that in 2016, the biggest portion of distracted driving accidents were caused by causes defined as "Other Inside the Vehicle." "Texting/Emailing" and "Phone" were listed as distractions for 23% of distracted drivers involved in a collision in 2016, and for 38% of drivers involved in a fatal crash.

Currently, Ohio has placed a ban on all electronic wireless communication device usage for drivers under the age of 18. Additionally, texting and driving is an illegal activity for drivers of all ages. However, disobeying this statute is only considered a secondary offense.

Reach out to an attorney

Those involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver in Ohio may experience physical, emotional and psychological injuries. After an accident occurs, those involved should contact an attorney in their area to find out more about their legal options and to protect their best interests.