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What Constitutes Distracted Driving?

We have all heard about distracted drivers, or have actually been one ourselves, but what is legally considered to be distracted driving? To address the question head on, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the United States Department of Transportation, defines distracted driving as any activity that could divert the driver's attention away from the primary task of driving. But that doesn't necessarily clear things up, as it only gives a generalized description.

There are, however, three primary categories of distractions that might clarify the sources of distracted driving, including:

  • Manual: Anything that takes your hands away from the steering wheel or gear shift is considered a manual distraction. For example, reaching over for your soda or into your pocket for a cigarette are manual distractions that stop you from immediately controlling the vehicle.
  • Visual: Something that takes your eyes away from the road is considered a visual distraction, such as a brightly displayed billboard, the lit screen of your mobile phone, or the passenger sitting next to you. Even if you look away for a second, you have been visually distracted.
  • Cognitive: If your mind is not focused on the task of driving, you are experiencing a cognitive distraction. It is extremely common for people to report that they arrive at a destination but have no real recollection of the actual driving process that got them there, also known as "highway hypnosis."

Becoming distracted in any one of these ways puts you and those around you at risk. Texting while driving - something that is becoming all-too-common - is a manual, visual, and cognitive distraction, escalating the danger for those on the road.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may need the assistance of a Hartford personal injury attorney at McCoy & McCoy. With a focus on personal injury cases and a dedication to our clients that few other law firms can claim, we can help you start seeking financial compensation for your trauma today. Call (860) 856-9283 now for a free, initial consultation.

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