It has long been established that texting and driving is one of the most dangerous things that you can do as you drive. However, one recent study indicates that cell phone use may not be the number one most common reason for a distracted driving accident. The study suggests that simple daydreaming may be to blame for most crashes.
Our Highland accident attorneys know that a driver who is distracted by anything – from a phone to a music system to the thoughts going through his mind — can be dangerous. Unfortunately, if daydreaming really is a major contributing factor in distracted driving accidents, it may be even harder than expected to combat the problems of distracted driving and to get all drivers to focus on what’s going on in front of them as they travel the roads.
Daydreaming a Top Distracted Driving Cause?
According to a recent article on Fox News, Erie Insurance Company recently did a study of more than 6,500 fatal accidents between 2010 and 2011 that had been classified as distracted driving crashes. Erie Insurance Company reviewed the police reports and other relevant available information about the crashes in order to assess what types of distracted driving behaviors were most dangerous.
Surprisingly, it turned out that the study did not reveal texting or cell phones as a top cause of distracted driving crashes. In fact, based on the written police reports, 62 percent of the crashes reportedly involved one or more people who were “lost in thought” as opposed to on the phone. The percent of accidents caused by daydreamers was far more than the 12 percent of accidents that were attributed to phone use.
“Lost in thought” also topped several other common distractions as a potential cause of distracted driving accidents. For example, using in-vehicle controls like a GPS or music system was listed as a contributing cause of only one percent of accidents. Smoking and animals in the car were also attributed to only about one percent of accidents.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has given up texting and that the only risk to people on the roads is a daydreaming driver. The Erie Insurance Company’s data and conclusions were ascertained using police reports explaining how the crash happened. The information in the police reports was determined based on what the drivers at the scene said, as well as based on the police officer’s own reading of the situation.
Some drivers who are in accidents might try to deny they were talking on a phone or doing something else equally distracting at the time, especially if the accident was a serious one and the driver is afraid he or she will get into trouble. This means some of the drivers who said they were daydreaming to explain their distracted behavior may actually have been doing something else entirely.
If daydreaming is a top cause of distracted driving, however, the problem is going to be a tough one to solve because no lawmaker can make or enforce a law against daydreaming.
Attorney Burton A. Padove represents auto accident accident victims. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call (219) 836-2200 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Teen Driving Fatalities: Indiana is No. 1, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, February 28, 2013