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Do You Know the 3 Categories of Distracted Driving? Insights from a New York City Injury Lawyer

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2016 | Firm News

Cell phones, rowdy passengers, flashy billboards – driver distractions are all around us, and they contribute to an alarming number of accidents every year. According to, 431,000 people suffered injuries in distracted-driving crashes in 2014, and 3,179 victims died.

All motorists should make a concerted effort to avoid distractions behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three categories of driver distractions:

  1. Manual;
  2. Cognitive;
  3. And visual.

If you were injured in a crash with a distracted driver, contact Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP. A personal-injury attorney in New York City will evaluate your collision to determine if you have grounds for a claim.

Call 917-730-7151 to schedule a free initial consultation. Until then, read on for a brief overview of the NHTSA’s three categories of driver distractions:

  1. Manual Distractions

Manual distractions refer to any behavior that takes one or both hands off the steering wheel. Smoking cigarettes, adjusting the radio or climate controls, drinking, eating and fiddling with a smartphone are all manual distractions. Many manual distractions, such as texting or using social media, also fall into the “cognitive” and “visual” distraction categories.

  1. Cognitive Distractions

Anything that requires you to take your focus off the task of driving is a cognitive distraction. Examples include daydreaming and using your smartphone.

  1. Visual Distractions

Visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road. According to the American Automobile Association, you are twice as likely to crash if you look away from the road for two seconds.

Examples of visual distractions include texting and gawking at crash scenes or billboards. The only reason you should take your eyes off the road is to check your mirrors or blind spots.

The Most Lethal Distractions Fit into All 3 Categories

The deadliest distractions are those that affect your mental, physical and cognitive abilities simultaneously. Texting is a common example.

The average driver will take his or her eyes off the road for five seconds while texting. If the motorist is moving 55 mph, he or she will travel the distance of a football field before looking at the road again. At the same time, the driver’s hand will not be on the wheel, so he or she will not be in the proper position to react to an unexpected hazard.

If you were hit by a distracted driver, then you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income and other damages. However, making a successful injury claim can be a legally complicated endeavor – especially if the at-fault driver denies liability or the insurance company refuses to cooperate.

A New York City injury lawyer from Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP can gather evidence, structure your claim and handle settlement negotiations on your behalf. If your case goes to trial, we have the litigation experience to represent your interests in court. Call 917-730-7151 to schedule a free initial consultation.