Is Texting the Only Form of Distracted Driving?

A recent article published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that 80% of car accidents are attributed to distracted driving. Although we hear a lot about cell phone use, specifically texting, being a major contributor to car accidents, smartphones are just one of many driver distractions. By definition, any activity that takes your hands off the wheel, and your eyes or focus off the road is considered distracted driving. With so much emphasis placed on not using your cell phone behind the wheel, many drivers are unaware that they are still engaging in distracted driving even when they are not on their phones. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact the experienced Hampton car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation. 

What Are Some Other Common Forms of Distracted Driving?

Other forms of distracted driving that have been identified as major contributors to serious car accidents include:

Daydreaming is Distracted Driving

Surprisingly, being lost in thought has been ranked as a leading cause of driver distraction. A study conducted by Erie Insurance determined that daydreaming behind the wheel was responsible for roughly 62% of all car accidents caused by distracted driving. For contrast, cell phones were deemed responsible for only around 12%. When you are in your head, you are likely to be slow to react to unexpected situations, such as the vehicle in front of you slamming on its brakes, or a pedestrian stepping out into a crosswalk. 


A study of 1,000 drivers carried out by Exxon Mobil concluded that 83% of drivers regularly consume beverages behind the wheel and 70% of drivers eat while driving. A related report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about 65% of near-miss crashes are due to drivers drinking or eating. Drivers drinking a beverage or eating food are four times more likely to be involved in an accident because they are slower to react. Although those who choose to have a snack or even an entire meal while driving are certainly not doing anything illegal, they could be found negligent by way of distracted driving if they are involved in a car accident. 

Reaching For Objects

National Institutes of Health researchers discovered that drivers reaching for objects such as bottles, food, bottles, their phone, or their purse are seven times more likely to crash than drivers who keep their hands on the wheel. Most drivers have done this at one time or another. Your water bottle rolled onto the passenger-side floor, your toddler dropped their toy and it rolled under your seat… The scenarios in which even the most responsible of drivers might feel compelled to reach for something are endless. However, no matter what you need to get a hold of, doing so takes your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel, endangering you, your passengers, and those around you. 

Drowsy Driving

Also known as fatigued driving, drowsy driving is a major contributor to serious vehicle accidents. During a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 54% of drivers admitted that, within the past year, they had operated a motor vehicle while severely sleep-deprived. Over 25% of those drivers confessed that they had briefly nodded off behind the wheel at least once.

A driver who is sleep-deprived or fatigued experiences the same impairments to their memory, coordination, and judgment as a driver who is under the influence. They also experience delayed reaction times and an inability to focus. When drivers fall asleep behind the wheel, they can swerve into another lane or into oncoming traffic, crash into a stationary object, or slam into stopped traffic.  

Was Your Accident Caused by Distracted Driving?

If you were injured by a distracted driver, the experienced Hampton car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. We have the resources and skills to investigate your accident, gather relevant evidence, negotiate with the insurer, and protect your interests during settlement negotiations or in court. Our decades of experience made it possible for our firm to secure a $100,000 settlement for a client who was badly injured in a crosswalk when he was hit by a distracted driver. To speak with an attorney regarding your potential distracted driving injury claim, schedule a free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out our online contact form. Our offices are in Hampton, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Norfolk.