Anybody can be a distracted driver and cause a terrible car accident. But depending on things like your job and how many kids you have could affect how often you drive while distracted, according to a recent study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
IIHS surveyed more than 2,000 drivers across the U.S. about whether they ever committed distracted driving and, if they did, the types of activities they did behind the wheel besides driving. Nearly two-thirds of respondents admitted to having distracted themselves while driving at least once in the previous 30 days. About half said they split their attention between the road and a device, such as their cellphone, most of the time when they drive someplace.
The two most common culprits
The two groups most likely to admit being distracted drivers were gig-economy workers, such as Uber drivers, and parents. Gig workers were more than twice as likely to report driving while distracted than the average respondent. And their answers indicate that their habits went beyond using apps on their phones for work, such as accepting a fare or delivery task. They were four times as likely to engage with apps on their phones behind the wheel.
Parents of children under 18 reported being distracted by non-device tasks (like eating or dealing with children in the back seat) 65 percent more often than average. They were also 47 percent more likely to get distracted by their phones and 31 percent more likely to be distracted by any type of electronic device.
Are hands-free apps the answer?
Most of those who said they used their phones while driving reported operating them with voice commands. Hands-free phone use seems to be safer than handheld texting or app use, though many voice-activated apps require at least some hand use. And voice command does not totally eliminate the distraction risk.
A distracted driver can force you into a serious collision that leaves you with painful, long-lasting injuries. You have the right under Louisiana law to seek total compensation when a driver acts negligently — such as by texting and driving — and harms you as a result.