What are the three types of driver distraction?

There are three primary types of driver distraction, including cognitive, visual and manual distraction, that can endanger the lives of others.

Every day in Oklahoma and throughout the U.S., hundreds of drivers, passengers and pedestrians are injured or killed in an accident involving distracted driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. on a daily basis, more than nine people are killed and over 1,153 people are injured in a car accident caused by distraction. Although many people believe that texting and driving is the only way to become distracted behind the wheel of a vehicle, there are three primary forms of distraction that exist.

Cognitive, visual and manual distraction

The CDC states that the three main types of distracted driving are as follows:

  • Visual distraction-Drivers who take their eyes away from the road as they operate a vehicle are visually distracted. For example, when a driver looks down at a map to see where he or she is going, he or she becomes visually distracted.
  • Manual distraction-When drivers take their hands off of the steering wheel, they become manually distracted. For instance, a driver is manually distracted when he or she reaches for something on the back seat of his or her vehicle.
  • Cognitive distraction-Drivers who take their mind off of driving as they operate a vehicle are cognitively distracted. A driver, for example, who focuses intently on what he or she has to do at work while commuting is cognitively distracted.

Although any type of visual, manual or cognitive distraction can put drivers at risk, texting and driving is an extremely dangerous activity to engage in behind the wheel. This is because it combines all three of the primary types of driver distraction.

Distracted driving laws in Oklahoma

To reduce the number of car accidents that occur due to distracted driving on the roads in Oklahoma, the state has enacted several driver distraction laws. For example, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, as of November 1, 2015, Oklahoma became the 46th state in the nation to ban texting while driving when the Trooper Nicholas Dees and Trooper Keith Burch Act of 2015 went into effect. Under this law, law enforcement officials can pull any driver over who is texting on his or her phone and issue a fine of $100.

Despite the existence of this law, many drivers in Oklahoma continue to ignore the dangers of texting behind the wheel and cause fatal and injurious car accidents. Drivers who were involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver should contact an attorney in their area to determine what legal steps they should take next.