It is not uncommon to see an Ohio motorist talking on a cellphone, eating or trying to adjust the radio while driving. Although these may seem like harmless acts to engage in while driving, they can actually be quite deadly. According to distraction.gov, the U.S. government official website for distracted driving, over 3,300 people were killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2012, and another 421,000 were injured in related accidents. Many states have taken action in an attempt to reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities that occur each year. Read also: Importance Of Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer.
What is distracted driving?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts a motorist’s attention away from the task of driving. While visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off of the road, manual distractions require a driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel. A third type of distraction, known as cognitive distraction, interferes with a driver’s ability to focus on driving.
Distraction.gov lists these other distractive behaviors as dangerous practices to engage in while driving:
- Programming a navigation device.
- Eating and drinking.
- Talking to other passengers in the car.
- Adjusting the CD player or radio.
- Picking up items off of the floor.
Texting while driving is thought to be one of the most dangerous distractive behaviors because it involves manual, visual and cognitive distractions. Read also: Prison Time for Missouri DUI Accident Drivers.
Ohio cellphone laws
In Ohio, it is illegal for a novice driver to use a handheld or hands-free cellular device, according to distraction.gov. There is also a ban on texting while driving for all drivers. However, this is a secondary law, which means that a driver must be pulled over for another driving offense before officers can cite them for texting and driving. Some believe that the current legislation is simply not enough to deter drivers from driving while distracted.
A look at cognitive distraction
While 13 states ban hand-held cellphone use in the United States, no states currently ban all cellphone use for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. In response to the high number of car accident injuries and fatalities involving distracted drivers, researches have conducted a number of studies looking at the dangers of cognitive distraction.
In 2012, the National Safety Council collected data from over 30 credible research studies, which explored the dangers of cognitive distraction and how it threatens the lives of motorists. It was found that cognitive distraction causes inattention blindness. A study by D.L. Strayer of the Traffic Safety Coalition indicates that drivers talking on a cellphone fail to see approximately 50 percent of the informational cues in their driving environment. This can affect their ability to react to driving hazards and respond to certain driving emergencies. Read also: Work zone accidents are common and dangerous.
Time to contact an attorney
Motorists who have been victimized by another driver’s decision to engage in distractive behaviors while driving may be able to receive compensation for their injuries, property damage and emotional trauma. A personal injury attorney who has extensive knowledge of Ohio laws can be extremely helpful in providing legal counsel and creating a strong case.