While there are many factors that could lead to an automobile collision in Montana, negligence often contributes to these serious and even fatal collisions that occur on roadways across the state. There is a growing concern for distracted driving, especially as the list of distractions that plague drivers continues to grow. Because of that, it is important for drivers to understand the dangers of distracted driving and how to reduce and avoid these types of accidents.

Distracted driving is when a driver is doing an activity while driving that causes visual, manual or cognitive distractions. This means that the activity takes the driver’s eyes away from the road, hands off of the wheel or mind off the primary task of driving. In 2013, it was reported that 3,154 people were killed in car accidents involving a distracted driver. While the number of fatalities decreased from the previous year, there was an increase in serious injuries suffered by victims in distracted driving accidents.

The major contributors for distracted driving include texting, using a cellphone, eating, drinking, talking to passengers in the vehicle, grooming, reading maps, using a GPS, watching a video or adjusting a radio or touching other knobs and buttons in the vehicle.

Cellphones are a major culprit of distracted driving because it can cause all three types of distractions. It requires the driver to take a hand off of the wheel to use, his or her eyes are diverted from the road to focus on the content on the screen and the driver’s mind is focused on the activity of texting or using the phone. The best way to avoid this common and serious form of distracted driving is to avoid using a phone while driving. This might require placing a phone out of reach or turning it off while driving.

Following a car accident, it is important to understand how the crash occurred and whether a party to the accident was at fault. If distractions were a factor, a negligent driver could be held liable for the accident. Injured victims could seek compensation through a personal injury claim. In these matters, it is important to understand the options available to victims and the process involved so he or she can make a timely and informed decision.

Source: Distraction.gov, “What is distracted driving?” accessed Oct. 26, 2015