As with many activities that fall into a legally and morally grey area, texting while driving is very hard for researchers to quantify. People who routinely engage in this unsafe behavior likely won’t admit to doing so when asked. Even anonymous surveys often make people feel nervous about admitting to what they know are dangerous choices.
People’s reluctance to tell the truth makes it very difficult for researchers to get an idea of exactly how many people drive distracted. Even if researchers could pull data directly from vehicle and phone use, it would only capture a subset of distracted driving.
After all, distraction entails much more than just looking down at a phone. People can cause crashes because of many other kinds of distraction as well. Many common commuting behaviors constitute distracted driving.
If you try to squeeze a little bit of your morning routine into your commute, you might be driving distracted without realizing that is what you’re doing. Anything that takes your focus off of the road or increases your reaction time by forcing you to adjust your control of the vehicle is distracted driving.
Putting on your tie, eating your breakfast, shaving, applying makeup and even talking with your carpool friends could all lead to distraction that impacts your safety on the road. Daydreaming or internal distraction is also a significant risk.
When you consider that all of these activities, as well as singing along to the radio, talking on the phone and adjusting controls in the vehicle are forms of distraction, you realized quickly that most people engage in at least one kind of distraction at the wheel on any given day. If you’re injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation for expenses and damages.