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Drivers are better about avoiding distractions, now, right?

Unfortunately, not. Even with numerous information campaigns from law enforcement, insurance carriers and training centers, distracted driving remains a serious problem on Texas roads. Drivers continue to believe they have the skills necessary to multitask while behind the wheel. Whether this is talking on the phone, eating a snack or sending a quick text, drivers who allow tasks to pull their focus from the road can cause devastating collisions.

With all the media attention the dangers of distracted driving seem to command, it would make sense that these catastrophic collisions would see a generous reduction. Unfortunately, the Texas Department of Transportation recently reported that in 2020, 1 in 5 roadway crashes were caused by a distracted driver. Even in a year that saw the number of motorists truncated due to the pandemic, these collisions resulted in 2,200 serious injuries and 364 deaths.

What are driving distractions?

It is a list that continues to expand, unfortunately. In short, any activity that can pull a driver’s attention or focus from the road can be categorized as a distraction. Generally, these activities fall under three headings:

  • Manual distraction: The act of removing one or both hands from the steering wheel to complete a task.
  • Visual distraction: Any activity that causes a driver to look away from the road, the cars and the driving environment is a distraction.
  • Cognitive distraction: When a driver pulls his or her attention from the road – daydreaming or thinking about where to stop for dinner, for example – this can represent a cognitive distraction.

Drivers of all ages and experience levels believe they have the skill necessary to safely drive while completing other tasks. Whether it is personal grooming or eating breakfast on the way to work, any activity that pulls the focus from the road or hands from the steering wheel can quickly become a deadly distraction.