Distracted Driving: When Multitasking Is Dangerous

Texting and talking while driving remains one of the primary causes of auto accident injuries and fatalities. In fact, recent studies show that engaging in non-driving tasks while operating a vehicle can make the chance of a collision up to three times more likely. The US federal website distraction.gov defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” This means that, while using a cell phone is the most frequently discussed type of distracted driving, it also includes tasks such as adjusting a navigation system and applying make-up.

At 55 miles per hour, when drivers look at anything other than the road for just five seconds, they have traveled about the length of a football field – which gives a sense of the seriousness of being distracted while traveling that quickly. Due to these dangers, most states have made texting while driving illegal with the hope of decreasing the high number of distracted driving accidents.

Teens and Distracted Driving

The most distracted drivers on the road are teenagers. The AAA Foundation conducted a study of footage from thousands of actual crashes involving teens, which showed that they were distracted about 25% of the time they were driving. Approximately 7% of distractions involved texting, emailing, or adjusting music. Combined with a lack of experience, distracted driving by teenagers is exceptionally dangerous.

Kinds of Distracted Driving

While texting is generally considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving, other activities may pose just as much of a threat. Any task that requires a combination of cognitive, visual, and manual attention can reduce a driver’s awareness and affect his or her ability to react quickly when needed. Other types of distraction include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Applying make-up, shaving, fixing hair, or any other form of grooming
  • Adjusting the radio or sound system
  • Reading directions or maps
  • Tampering with electronic navigation systems
  • Watching a video
  • Tending to crying or fighting children
  • Wrestling or playing with passengers


The following are some simple safety steps to suggest to your friends and family members, as well as to follow yourself. These tips can keep you and those on the road around you safe while you drive:

  • Make a habit of putting your phone on silent or shutting it off every time you get into the car.
  • When traveling longer distances, set up an automatic message that alerts callers to the fact that you are driving and that you will return their message later.
  • When it’s not possible to wait to make a phone call, be sure to safely pull off the road before doing so.
  • Before leaving, plan which route you need to take to avoid last minute GPS adjustments or map reading.
  • Pull over safely to take care of upset infants or arguing children.


  • In 2013, 10% of drivers under 20 years old who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time.
  • That same year, 3,154 fatalities involved distracted driving.
  • At any given time in the US, approximately 660,000 people are using some sort of electronic device while operating a vehicle.
  • The AAA Foundation reports that 90% of surveyed drivers categorized talking, texting, and emailing as “unacceptable.” Of the same group, 35% admitted to performing at least one of these tasks while driving.

Cooper Law Partners – Representing Car Accident Victims

Distracted driving is a serious issue affecting everyone on the road. Many states have implemented strict rules to hold distracted drivers accountable. If you have been injured in a preventable accident due to another’s distracted driving, the legal team at Cooper Law Partners can help. We will use our skill, experience, and knowledge to help you obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other associated expenses. Contact Cooper Law Partners today at (1-800) USA-3500 for a free consultation.