Whenever someone performs another task while driving, whether it be eating, drinking, talking on a cell phone or inputting GPS directions, that person is driving while distracted. With approximately nine fatalities and more than 1,150 injuries a day, most of which are the result of cell phone use while driving, it is vital that residents of Montana be aware of the three main types of distracted driving.
The first type of distracted driving is visual distraction. Visual distractions occur when a driver takes his or her eyes off of the road. This can happen in a variety of ways, from glancing at a new text message or email to looking at a billboard along the side of the road.
When a driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel, this is known as manual distraction. Manual distractions increase the amount of time it takes drivers to react to what is happening on the road. Eating, drinking and handling a cell phone while driving are examples of manual distractions.
Cognitive distraction is the third type of distracted driving. This occurs when a driver takes his or her mind off of the task of driving. Speaking on a cell phone, paying too close attention to a conversation with a passenger and simply being absentminded are all ways in which a driver can be cognitively distracted.
When an individual is driving while distracted, he or she is abandoning their duty of care. Duty of care is a legal obligation that requires people who are carrying out tasks that could foreseeably harm others to adhere to a sensible standard of safety. If a personal injury lawyer wants to take an action in negligence in order to help a plaintiff obtain compensation for accident-related injuries, the lawyer must establish that the defendant abandoned his or her duty of care.