Vehicle Information Systems, Bugs, Pets Are Major Driver Distractions, Study Says

Campaigns to stop distracted driving often focus on texting and smartphone use. But new research shows we need to widen the scope.

A study of driver behavior found that some of the most distracting activities include things like talking to passengers, swatting at bugs, riding with pets, and using touchscreen vehicle information systems.

In San Jose and Santa Clara County, distracted driving is a major factor in fatal car accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Some of the riskiest places in the city for a crash include:

  • Monterey Road (Route 82)
  • I-280 (Junipero Serra Freeway)
  • E Santa Clara Street
  • US-101 (Bayshore Freeway)
  • Tully Road

The Biggest Driver Distraction Is ...

According to a Drexel University research study, searching for dropped objects while driving is the biggest source of distracted driving.

Mobile phones are the second-largest source of distraction.

Another big distraction might come as a surprise to some - a vehicle's own information system. In particular, dashboard touchscreens can be very distracting, researchers found.

Distracted Driving Research

The recently released Drexel University study sought to answer questions like what is the most distracting driver activity and who is most distracted?

To find out, researchers analyzed 50 million miles driven by people in six states using cars equipped with cameras and radars, Treehugger reports. Researchers looked at six groups of people across three age groups and both sexes.

Male teens and older women seemed to be most distracted by vehicle information systems. Overall, older people of both sexes took their eyes off the road for about 8 seconds longer than young drivers. In particular, distracted drivers were programming the vehicle's navigation system or finding music on the radio using a vehicle touchscreen, the study reports.

Study Highlights

Here are some other study highlights:

  • Vehicle maneuvers with the highest risk of a car accident (from most to least risk) - Turning right, entering a parking position, going straight at a constant speed, negotiating a curve, and decelerating in traffic.
  • The action that takes our eyes off the road for the longest period of time - eating and drinking. On average, drivers eating and drinking look away from the road for 7.99 seconds. The average for talking with passengers is 7.07 seconds, and 5.53 seconds for grooming.
  • The overall number of total fatal crashes has decreased in recent years, but teenagers and young adults are disproportionately affected by car accident fatalities.
  • The factors that most influence traffic accidents include (from most to least): Driver behavior, length of time driving distracted, years of driving experience, relationship to an intersection, and traffic flow.

Common Distracted Driving Accident Injuries

In the U.S., thousands of people are killed every year due to distracted driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2018, the most recent information available, distracted driving was a factor in 8% of all fatal crashes in the U.S. and 15% of injury-causing accidents.

Speed is often a factor in distracted driving crash severity, which is why the results tend to be serious. Often, the at-fault driver was not paying attention and didn't hit their brakes. As a result, they slam full speed into another vehicle, causing serious injuries.

Among the most common distracted driving accident injuries are:

  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), concussions, and skull fractures
  • Broken bones and fractures in the arm, leg, wrist, hip, chest, etc.
  • Internal bleeding
  • Hernia
  • Persistent pain or loss of sensation
  • Nerve damage

Compensation For Car Accident Victims

Distracted driving is negligent driving. When someone else's bad driving causes your accident, they need to be held responsible for their actions.

The Swanson Law Group is dedicated to fighting for the compensation accident victims need to get their lives back on track. Our car accident attorneys conduct thorough investigations to power our aggressive negotiating strategy.

If you were injured in an accident in the San Jose region, contact our law firm for a free case consultation.

In addition, do not give a statement to an insurance adjuster or accept a settlement before consulting a lawyer. Our car accident attorneys are ready to hear from you right now. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


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