As regular readers of our Louisville Legal Issues blog know, residents of urban areas are increasingly at risk from drivers who are paying more attention to their phones and in-dash electronics than they are to the streets and traffic. Study after study shows that distracted driving crashes are on the rise, resulting in serious injuries – and sometimes fatalities – to motorists and pedestrians.

A survey released earlier this year contained a number of disturbing revelations. For instance, a whopping 10 percent of iPhone users admit to watching YouTube videos while driving. Four percent of Android users admit to doing the same.

Does that mean iPhone users are dangerous drivers than Android users? Maybe. Sixteen percent of iPhone owners said they never give in to distractions while driving, while 23 percent of Android phone users said they have never driven while distracted.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three types of distractions that threaten everyone’s safety:

  • Visual distraction: when a driver shifts their eyes from the traffic and road to look at a text message, an auto accident, at their children or other passengers, and so on.
  • Manual distraction: when a driver’s hands leave the steering wheel to adjust the GPS, radio, phone, reach for something, etc.
  • Cognitive distraction: when a driver’s mind wanders from the job of driving and focuses instead on daydreams, family plans, romance, work problems and so on.

Distracted drivers claim more than nine lives a day and do more than $40 billion in economic damage each year – and both figures continue to rise.

It’s incumbent on each of us to eliminate distractions while driving, by turning phones off and paying attention to what’s important when we’re behind the wheel.