The #1 Cause of Distracted Driving

Middle-age man driving car

When most people think of distracted driving, they automatically think of cellphones. While cellphones are certainly a powerful distraction and a “triple threat,” they are not the top cause of distracted driving crashes. In actuality, the #1 cause of distracted driving is something that’s much more difficult to define and even harder to address.

Refocusing the Problem

According to a distracted driving report by the Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois has no hard data on the number of crashes caused by cellphone use but estimates that 1-in-10 drivers are using their cellphone at any time. The Illinois State Police have no hard numbers either but suggest that texting and driving increase the risk of a crash by 400%.

Other states and organizations have more decisive data. In 2013, a Pennsylvania insurance company found that cellphone use contributed to just 13% of all distracted driving-related fatalities.

More recently, the Georgia Department of Public Safety released a similar report, finding that cellphone use was a factor in just 12% of all distracted driving cases. Both sources identified something else as the primary cause of distracted driving crashes.

The #1 Cause

Organizations with hard numbers on the causes of distracted driving point to the same thing. Daydreaming and becoming lost in thought are the main causes of distracted driving crashes. The #1 cause of distracted driving isn’t a triple threat at all, it’s the most basic cognitive distraction imaginable.

It’s easy to understand how this happens. We all get bored behind the wheel, especially on long drives. It’s tempting to think about what we’ll do when we reach our destination or what we’re having for dinner that night. The more we think about these things, the more we faze out. If you ever find yourself suddenly pulled out of your thoughts due to fast-approaching brake-lights, you were engaged in a driving distraction.

The more aware we are of how dangerous daydreaming can be, the less likely we are to allow ourselves to slip into deep thought. Together, we can reduce crashes caused by distracted driving, but only if we first identify the #1 cause of these accidents.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a distracted driving accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced DeKalb County car accident attorney from Turner & Sackett LLC to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (800) 761-0993.

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