Many drivers in Arkansas are distracted behind the wheel at some point. They could take their eyes off the road for a few seconds to reach for an item, switch a song on a music player, or take a sip of coffee.
Psychology Today breaks down the three forms of distraction that can lead to a crash:
- Visual – involves taking your eyes off the road to engage in some form of distraction inside a car. Visual distraction can also include drivers turning their heads to look at something happening outside the car.
- Manual – occurs when a driver takes his or her hands off the wheel to pick up a smartphone, reach for an item, or use infotainment features on the dashboard.
- Cognitive – even if a driver’s eyes are on the road and hands are on the wheel, this type of distraction can include daydreaming, tiredness, or some other lack of mental focus.
Smartphones take distracted driving to a new level
It’s bad enough that this form of distraction is enough to result in a crash but smartphones and other handheld devices take distracted driving to a whole new level. They’ve become such an integral part of our lives that their use extends beyond making calls and sending texts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 3,166 people died across the United States due to crashes caused by distracted driving.
In addition, the NHTSA warns that sending or reading a text could require drivers to take their eyes off the road for five seconds. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of two football fields with your eyes closed.
A statewide problem in Arkansas
According to Safewise, Arkansas is listed as a top-ten state for the highest rate of traffic fatalities in 2016 – at 18.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
Arkansas currently has a statewide handheld device ban with a minimum fine of $250. Aside from texting, this includes any kind of typing, accessing email, browsing the internet, or using apps while behind the wheel.
Arkansas State Police recently launched a campaign dubbed “U Drive, You Text, You Pay” in order to crack down on distracted driving. In order to lessen the dangers, they offer the following tips to the public:
- Pull over and park your car in a safe area if you are expecting a text or plan on sending one.
- If you have a passenger, allow him or her to send and receive texts and calls instead of you.
- If you intend to use your smartphone for other purposes, such as social media, put it somewhere you can’t access it and simply wait until you’re done driving.
There should be no dispute about the dangers of distracted driving. If you or a loved one was injured because of another driver’s inattentiveness, speak to an experienced Arkansas car accident attorney as soon as possible. You can start by contacting the McDaniel Law Firm, PLC and setting up your free consultation.