Distracted driving, in its simplest form, is anything done while driving that is not directly related to the task of operating a vehicle. There are three types of distraction that have been identified as leading causes of accidents. These are:
- Visual. Taking your eyes off of the road
- Manual. Taking your hands off of the wheel
- Cognitive. Taking your mind off of driving
Cellphone use has become the “face” of distracted driving. Many people assume that by simply not using a handheld cellphone to talk, text, or watch videos, they are not engaging in distracted driving. Nothing could be further from the truth – and this dangerous misconception can easily lead to serious or fatal motor vehicle accidents.
Examples of Distracted Driving
Handheld cellphone use is illegal in British Columbia. Using a cellphone takes visual, manual, and cognitive attention away from the road and, if you are caught using one while driving, you may end up with a fine.
But aren’t there other things commonly done while driving that also involve visual, manual, and cognitive distraction? Indeed there are. Distracted driving includes:
- Eating and drinking
- Smoking and vaping
- Personal grooming
- Reading or using maps or GPS
- Adjusting the radio or a portable music device
- Looking for a dropped or lost item
These things, like cellphone use, require visual, manual, and cognitive attention. They are all just as dangerous as driving while texting on a handheld device. They all can and often do result in injurious accidents.
Onboard Electronics are Safer, Right?
The ICBC has found that one in four fatal car accidents in B.C. is caused by distraction. To curb this, cellphones and music devices must be secured for hands-free use while driving. Some newer cars come with Bluetooth and wireless technologies that allow onboard entertainment systems to act as talk-to-text services as well. The idea is that, by avoiding manual manipulation, these devices are not as distracting. Studies have found this is simply not true.
The bottom line is, if you have been injured by a driver who wasn’t paying attention – whether the distraction was a cellphone or a cup of coffee – you are entitled to seek compensation. The ICBC lawyers at Stephens & Holman are here to help. Call us at 604-730-4120 to schedule a free case review and learn more.