With the rise of mobile telephone culture came a marked increase in public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. However, distracted driving existed long before mobile phones were a part of everyday life. People would find themselves distracted at the wheel due to discussions with family members, a desire to change the radio station or even personal grooming.

Any form of distraction is dangerous, but mobile technology is particularly insidious. People in some situations may become addicted to or dependent upon their phones. Some people may worry about the loss of a relationship or even a job if they don’t immediately respond to emails and text messages.

The decision to text behind the wheel endangers not just the person on their phone, but everyone on the road. Sadly, it isn’t always possible to avoid distracted drivers before they cause issues on the road.

Statistics show distracted driving is more prevalent than people think

Many people realize that distracted driving is comparably dangerous to drunk driving. This might lead people to assume that it is similarly uncommon. However, while only a tiny number of people choose to drink and drive on any given day, a staggering number of people may be choosing to text behind the wheel. A recent study found that roughly 88 percent of people use their phones while driving on any given trip.

According to a study conducted by Zendrive looking at sensor data from over three million drivers traveling 5.6 billion miles, the average driver is on their phone for 3.5 minutes for every hour they drive, which is about six percent of the time. That is very concerning, because even a few seconds of focusing on something other than your vehicle can increase your risk of a collision.

Distracted drivers can cause serious injuries to others

Distracted drivers take their eyes and mental focus off of the road. They also often choose to take their hands off of the wheel. The lack of focus on the road can increase a driver’s reaction time to sudden changes in traffic.

Needing to grab ahold of the wheel because you aren’t currently in control of the vehicle can also add precious seconds to the amount of time it takes you to respond to an issue in traffic. In many cases, those extra seconds are the difference between a frightening moment at the wheel and an actual collision.

Anyone who winds up hurt in a car accident caused by a distracted driver should look into their legal rights under New York personal injury laws. It may be possible to hold the driver accountable for any injuries suffered in a distracted driving crash, as well as lost wages and other financial consequences, by filing a lawsuit seeking damages related to the crash.