We’ve written about it before, but with an increasing number of consumers being wooed by new vehicles featuring the latest in-dash technology, there’s a fine line between increasing convenience and adding even more potential distractions. Now, new guidelines from the Department of Transportation are attempting to crack down on in car distractions by disabling some functions while the vehicle is in motion, limiting the number of button presses required for any given task, and reducing the amount of time the driver needs to look away from the road to just 2 seconds. As Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood states, “If you’re going to put all this technology in cars, don’t allow people to use it while they’re supposed to be driving safely.”

A recent video segment from CBS News showcased the difficulty of utilizing these new technologies while continuing to remain focused on the road. The piece highlights retired UPS Driver Ron Sowder, who amassed over 4 million miles of driving without a single accident. He credits his success with always maintaining a safe following distance and paying attention. Unfortunately, as the report points out, the latest dashboard technology is becoming increasingly detrimental to the type of safe driving habits that helped Sowder maintain an impeccable driving record throughout his 50-year career.

As these new technologies face increasing amounts of scrutiny—and guidelines surrounding how they’re used become more commonplace—the discussion surrounding the dangers of distracted driving continues to get plenty of attention. However, whether that will translate into safer driving habits is a different matter entirely.

Drivers like Ron Sowder shouldn’t be the exception to the rule. Putting individual safety, and the safety of others, ahead of texting, checking email, making phone calls, or plugging an address into your GPS seems like a no brainer. Hopefully, by taking a closer look at how these new technologies impact distracted driving, the media can help continue to hammer the message home.

What are the most common driving distractions?

Driving distractions can come in many forms and can be a significant risk to both the driver and other people on the road, including bus, train, and bike riders, cyclists, pedestrians, and passengers. Here are some of the most common driving distractions:

  1. Devices: The use of smartphones and other electronic devices is a common source of distraction for drivers. Checking emails, texting, or using social media while driving can take your attention away from the road, making it difficult to react to changing traffic conditions.
  2. Passengers: Passengers can also be a significant source of distraction for drivers, especially when they are having a conversation or arguing with the driver.
  3. Drinking and eating: Drinking, eating, or smoking while driving can also be a distraction. It requires the driver to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road.
  4. Navigation: Using a navigation device or map while driving can be distracting, especially if the driver has to take their eyes off the road to look at the device.
  5. Reaching for something: Reaching for an object, such as a dropped item or a fallen object can take a driver’s eyes and hands off the wheel and can cause a crash.
  6. Changing the music: Changing the music or adjusting the volume on a car stereo can be a distraction, especially if the driver has to take their eyes off the road to do so.
  7. Looking at a destination: While it’s important to be aware of your destination, looking at it too much while driving can be a distraction, especially if the driver has to take their eyes off the road to do so.

There are many common driving distractions that drivers need to be aware of. Whether it’s the use of electronic devices, passengers, drinking and eating, navigation, reaching for something, changing the music, or looking at a destination, these distractions can increase the risk of a crash, especially at intersections and crosswalks. It’s important for drivers to be mindful of these distractions and avoid them as much as possible to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

What are the consequences of driving while distracted?

Driving while distracted can have serious consequences, both for the driver and other people on the road. Distracted driving can increase the risk of personal injury and liability, leading to a lawsuit or even wrongful death. If a driver causes a crash while distracted, they may be held responsible for the resulting damages and injuries. As a result, it’s essential for drivers to avoid distractions and stay focused on the road at all times to prevent accidents and minimize the risk of personal injury, liability, and lawsuits.

Where do most driving distractions occur?

Driving while distracted is a serious issue that can lead to serious consequences, including personal injury, liability, lawsuits, and even wrongful death. Distracted driving can occur in a variety of ways, both inside and outside of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle, drivers can become distracted by talking on their cell phone, texting, adjusting the radio, changing the temperature, eating, drinking, or engaging in other activities that take their attention away from the road.

When a driver’s attention is diverted from the road, they may fail to see other vehicles, pedestrians, or road hazards. This can increase the risk of a crash, resulting in serious injuries, property damage, and even death. In the event of a crash caused by a distracted driver, the driver may be held liable for the damages and injuries caused to others.

In the even of a wrongful death, lawsuits may be filed against the driver and their family, seeking compensation for the damages and losses suffered as a result of the crash. To avoid these consequences, it’s crucial for drivers to stay focused on the road at all times and avoid any activities that may distract them from driving safely. By doing so, drivers can reduce the risk of crashes and protect themselves and others on the road.


Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.