Driver Distractions Are Dangerous

Driver Distractions Are Dangerous

The number of auto accidents each year, according to government statistics, is more than 6 million, with an average of 90 automobile fatalities every day. If you do the math, that is almost 33,000 fatalities a year on U.S. roads, and by far, the largest cause of accidents is human error.


In fact, more than 90 percent of automobile crashes in the United States are due to human error, according to the National Safety Council. And, according to them, human error due to distractions have been on the rise since the invention of the smartphone.


The data on smartphone-related accidents is concerning. In the past seven years, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 9.7 percent of drivers in 2018 were using a smartphone in any typical minute during daylight hours, which means roughly 10 percent of the cars on the road that you drive by or towards are being operated by someone whose attention is divided between driving, whatever else takes their attention away, and the use of a smartphone.

According to the National Safety Council, posted on their website: “The percent of drivers manipulating hand-held electronic drivers has increased 1,500 percent from 0.2 percent in 2005 to 3.2 percent in 2018, but has decreased from the record high of 4.3 percent in 2014.”


So, what happens if you are driving a car, manipulating a hand-held device and nibbling on some potato chips at the same time. And, in addition to this, the Federal Bureau of Investigations noted there were 1.4 million arrests for driving under the influence in 2010, which happens to be only 1 percent of the number of drivers (a calculated 112 million) who self-reported driving under the influence in a survey during the same year. This amounts to almost half the number of 

people (225.7 million) who have driver’s licenses in the United States using a more recent year, 2018.


It’s dangerous out there, and distractions are a huge reason for that. Let’s look at Erie Insurance company’s analysis of F.B.I. Data from 2011 to 2018. In those years, the top 10 distractions that contributed to auto crash fatalities were:


Daydreaming – 62 percent

Cell phone use – 12 percent

Distracted by something outside of the car – 7 percent

Another occupant – 5 percent

Reaching for a device (headphones, G.P.S., etc.) – 2 percent

Eating or drinking – 2 percent

Adjusting volume or temperature controls – 2 percent

Adjusting car-related device (windows, mirrors, etc.) 1 percent

Moving object in the car (something falls off the dashboard, for example) – 1 percent

Smoking-related (lighting, putting out cigarettes, etc.) – 1 percent


There is another way to break this down, which is by category. In this look at driving distractions, there are three categorical types. These would be Visual Distractions, Manual Distractions, and Mental Distractions.


Visual Distraction


Anything that takes your eye off the road

Other cars, other accidents, someone pulled over by police

A pedestrian

A sign that attracts your eye, a billboard you are trying to read


The scenery, including sunsets or sunrises



Manual Distractions


Anything that takes your hands off the steering wheel

Adjusting something that’s part of the car

Adjusting or paying attention to a hand-held device

Horsing around with someone else in the car


Mental Distractions


Anything that takes away from your concentration on driving


Emotional distractions: Anger, depression, anxieties

Conflicts with others

Business/work-related problems


At Colorado Accident and Injury, we are the place to call if you get into an automobile accident. Of course, we’d rather you didn’t. Please drive safely.


Medical pain management clinic specializing in care for auto accident patients. Call 719-917-1000.

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