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What Are the Main Types of Distracted Driving, and How Do You Prove Them After a Wreck?

  1. What Are the Main Types of Distracted Driving, and How Do You Prove Them After a Wreck?
  2. Major Types of Distracted Driving
  3. Proving Distracted Driving: Challenges and Solutions
  4. Will Adams Law Firm Holds Distracted Drivers Accountable

What Are the Main Types of Distracted Driving, and How Do You Prove Them After a Wreck?

Distracted drivers kill at least 3,000 people a year and injure hundreds of thousands more—and that’s just the cases that get reported. There are countless more where distraction is suspected, but not confirmed.

In short, if you’ve recently been in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, it’s highly likely that a distracted driver was to blame. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy to prove. Even in an age of constant cell phone use and numerous other distracting devices (including features on cars themselves!), we can’t simply assume that the at-fault party was texting or fiddling with the radio.

In this post, we’ll outline the primary types of distracted driving and why they’re so dangerous. We’ll also explore how an experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove that another driver was distracted when they hit you.

Major Types of Distracted Driving

Humans get distracted easily, and in multiple ways. But when you’re behind the wheel, staying focused on the task at hand is crucially important.

Think of it this way: If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, even a few seconds of distraction can mean you travel the length of a football field without fully concentrating. That’s a lot of space for something to go wrong.

If you suspect you were injured in a car accident because a driver was distracted, know that proving distraction can be challenging. Understanding the various types of distracted driving may give you and your lawyer a place to start.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road. They can be in the car or outside of it, and may or may not be within the driver’s control.

While it’s true that people can control where they look, we’ve all experienced the practically involuntary turn of our head toward a flashing sign or active pedestrian.

Still, the more troublesome distractions are the ones drivers should intentionally ignore, such as phone screens, billboards, and anything that doesn’t relate to the roadway.

As you think back on the crash itself, note anything visually distracting that the at-fault driver should have ignored, like flashy advertisements or roadside construction.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions take a driver’s hands off the steering wheel. The risks are compounded when a manual distraction is also a visual distraction (such as a cell phone).

Of course, there are times when a driver needs to flip on a turn signal, lights, or windshield wipers to stay safe, but a licensed driver should be able to make these movements without taking their eyes off the road.

Distractions that aren’t as dependent on muscle memory are typically more problematic. This might include adjusting the radio, searching for something in a purse, reaching toward a child in the back seat, or holding an electronic device.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions take a driver’s mind off driving. Visual and manual distractions are often cognitive as well (or all three, like making phone calls), but a cognitive distraction can still occur even when a driver is looking at the road and has both hands on the wheel.

We’ve all been distracted by our thoughts at one time or another, but the more dangerous cognitive distractions are those drivers should anticipate before getting behind the wheel. For example:

  • Being tired
  • Certain medications
  • Influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Stressful personal situations
  • Agitated moods
  • Loud passengers

If you suspect any of these were an issue for the at-fault driver, don’t immediately make accusations, but consider what you heard and saw after the accident to support a claim of cognitive distraction.

RELATED: Texting and Driving in Texas: What Injured People Need to Know

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- MJ – Katy, TX

Proving Distracted Driving: Challenges and Solutions

As we said in the beginning, driving while distracted is a frequent cause of car accidents, injuries, and deaths. Unfortunately, it’s generally difficult to prove, especially without the help of an attorney.

Why are distracted driving crashes so challenging to prove to insurance companies and juries? Primarily because there’s no way to know exactly where a driver was looking or reaching, or what they were thinking about, at the exact moment of the crash (unless they confess to it).

At the same time, increasingly distracting technology (including the vehicles themselves) means investigators have more places to look for evidence of a distracted driver.

For example, newer cars come with a range of safety, comfort, navigation system, and entertainment features. They also collect data on driving habits and behavior. In certain circumstances, an attorney may be able to access this data to prove distracted driving.

Commercial vehicles often have digital monitoring systems that detect when drivers use cell phones or look away from the road for too long. This is in addition to traditional logbooks that can show that commercial drivers went too long without a break, suggesting fatigued, distracted driving.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will work to get cell phone records, eyewitness statements, and other evidence of driving distractions. Beyond that, their network of medical experts and accident reconstructionists helps find information that suggests distracted driving during motor vehicle crashes.

RELATED: What Happens if a Car Hits a Pedestrian in Texas (and How Much Is My Case Worth)?

Will Adams Law Firm Holds Distracted Drivers Accountable

Distracted driving is dangerous, and at Will Adams Law Firm we hold people accountable for this kind of negligence behind the wheel.

As personal injury attorneys serving our hometown of Katy, we’re dedicated to supporting the safety of people in our community. To make it easier for you to move forward with your case, we always start with a free consultation. Schedule yours today when you call (281) 371-6345 or use the simple contact form on our website.


Distracted driving. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/distracted_driving/index.html

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.




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