Distracted Drivers Have Caused the Most Car Accidents in 2023

Distracted Drivers Have Caused the Most Car Accidents in 2023If you or a family member has been involved in a distracted driving accident, please reach out to the car accident attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman as soon as possible. We would be glad to schedule an initial meeting with you at one of our offices in Newark, Wilmington, or Seaford.

Distracted driving is one of the top reasons for car accidents around Delaware and the rest of the United States. Most people assume that this only involves texting and driving. However, there are many different activities that you can do behind the wheel that are considered distracted driving. To deter people from participating in distracted driving, Delaware has taken the proper steps to implement laws against these dangerous activities, but individuals still choose to give their attention to other things instead of focusing on the task at hand, which is driving.

The data on distracted driving in Delaware

According to Delaware’s public crash data dashboard, there were over 106,000 crashes caused by driver inattention, distraction, or fatigue in the state of Delaware over the last 14 years. For the first several months of 2023 alone, distracted driving, fatigue, and inattention accounted for around 630 car accidents in Delaware.

In 2022, Delaware’s Annual Traffic Statistical Report showed that “driver inattention, distraction, or fatigue” played a role in 6,564 accidents that year. It led to seven fatal accidents and 1,384 crashes resulting in injuries.  The number of car accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving is expected to keep rising in the state by the end of 2023.

Examples of distracted driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that distracted driving is “doing another activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving,” which can cause a car accident quickly.  Distracted driving may occur in many different ways, such as:

  • Texting and driving
  • Talking on the phone and driving
  • Surfing the web or social media while driving
  • Sending an email while driving
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Brushing your hair while driving
  • Putting on makeup while driving
  • Adjusting the radio station or temperature controls while driving
  • Playing with the navigation system or GPS while driving
  • Watching a video while driving
  • Talking to your passengers while driving
  • Reaching for an item in the vehicle while driving
  • Daydreaming or zoning out while driving

As you can see, almost anything that takes your focus and concentration away from driving is considered a distraction. Therefore, when you are behind the wheel, your eyes should be on the road, both hands should be placed on the steering wheel, and your mind should only be thinking about driving. While it is completely normal and recommended to check your surroundings often while driving, you should not spend too much time looking at other things on the roads, sidewalks, or shoulder areas. This will cause you to miss something important or abruptly crash into another vehicle or pedestrian.

What are the three main forms of distracted driving?

There are three different forms of distracted driving that you should know about. All three forms can cause a motor vehicle crash within seconds, which puts the driver, their passengers, other drivers and passengers, and anyone else on the road at risk of danger. Here are the three main forms of distracted driving:

  1. Visual distracted driving: Visual distracted driving is when you are doing any activity that requires you to take your eyes away from driving. Looking in your mirrors at your child, pet, or passenger in the backseat for an extended period of time is an example of visual distracted driving.
  2. Cognitive distracted driving: Cognitive distracted driving is when you are thinking about something else, which causes you to take your mind away from driving. This form of distracted driving typically happens when someone is talking on the phone. They may be still looking at the roads, but their mind is focused on the conversation that they are having on the phone.
  3. Manual distracted driving: Manual distracted driving occurs when you physically move your hands away from the steering wheel. For example, if you take your hand off the steering wheel to reach for an item in the backseat or floorboard, this is manual distracted driving.

While all forms of distracted driving are very risky and should be avoided, texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving as it requires individuals to take their eyes, mind, and hands off driving all at once.

Delaware’s current laws against distracted driving

Delaware Code 4176(b) states that “whoever operates a vehicle and fails to give full time and attention to the operation of the vehicle, or whoever fails to maintain a proper lookout while operating the vehicle, shall be guilty of inattentive driving.” If a person is caught inattentively driving in Delaware, they will receive a fine of between $25 to $75 for the first offense. For further offenses, they will be fined between $50 to $95.

Delaware 4176C explains that no one in Delaware is legally allowed to use any “electronic communication device” while driving a motor vehicle. The law defines an electronic communication device as a “cell telephone, personal digital assistant, electronic device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, 2-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.”  If drivers are seen using any of these types of hand-held electronic communication devices, they will be fined $100 the first time. Any time after that, the fines will increase to between $200 to $300. The only way that Delawareans can use these devices while behind the wheel is if the devices are completely hands-free, meaning that they are not touching the device.

If you or a family member was injured by a distracted driver, the car accident lawyers at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman are here for you. While it can become extremely difficult and complex to prove that a driver was distracted during your accident, our team will assist you in collecting convincing evidence as well as ensuring that your rights remain protected. We know and understand that you are in the middle of a tough recovery process, which is why we are happy to stand up and fight for the compensation you are owed for your losses. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule your free and confidential case review today. Our attorneys service clients in Seaford, Newark, and Wilmington.