When people in Southwestern Pennsylvania think of distracted driving, the first image to come to mind might be a person texting and driving, surfing the internet or even just talking on the phone.

As we’ve learned over the recent years, texting and driving is indeed a dangerous activity which is too common despite efforts to crack down on this behavior.

Many people don’t practice what they preach about phones and driving

For example, over half of all drivers surveyed said that they agreed that distractions related to their cell phones made it harder to drive safely, with over 37% of those surveyed completely agreeing that texting and driving and the like were dangerous.

This being said, over 28% of those surveyed also admitted to texting and driving. Many people also said that they felt a lot of pressure to respond to texts and other messages even if they were driving.

Basically, many people may be well aware of state laws prohibiting texting and driving, yet they continue to engage in the behavior. In the worst states, motorists are spending up to 8% of their total driving time on their phones.

Still, phones are not the most common distraction

Moreover, despite getting a lot of attention, cell phones are only one of the major distractions drivers are dealing with.

Interestingly enough, some of the more common distractions pre-date cell phones and were around at the advent of the automobile itself. For example, one common distraction was simply daydreaming or thinking about something else while driving.

Other common distractions include in-car technology, passengers and things outside the car other than the road and traffic.

Eating or drinking water or other beverages is also a common distraction. In a recent survey, well over half of those asked said they had tried to eat or drink while they were driving.

Any type of distracted driving is unsafe

No matter the cause of the distraction, a distracted driver is a dangerous driver. Merely taking a second to reach for something in one’s car, for instance, increases the chance of an automobile accident eight-fold.

Other statistics prove the same point.

Current estimates are that distracted driving kills on average 9 people a day, or around 3,500 people annually.  Overall in 2019, 8.5% of all fatal accidents were attributed to distracted driving in some degree.

Additionally, about 1,000 people on average get injured daily because of distracted driving. Some of these injuries can result in paralysis and permanent brain damage. Estimates are that the overall cost of distracting driving, including medical bills, lost wages and the like, is $40 billion each year.

Washington County motorists have an obligation to avoid distractions and pay attention to the road. If they fail to do so, and cause an accident as a result, victims may be able to recover compensation from the responsible driver.