Distracted driving takes many different forms, but, if you ask the general public what it means, they'll probably point to cellphones. A lot of press over the last few years has gone into the issue of texting and driving, using social media while driving, and the like.
Cellphone use is dangerous. It is an issue. You want to avoid it every time you drive. Never assume it's safe.
However, that does not mean it's the real "biggest issue" that drivers face. Studies revolving exclusively around distracted driving found that daydreaming was more common and caused more accidents. They also referred to this as getting "lost in thought."
A wide gap
The gap between the two activities, and their relation to car accidents, is actually much larger than many people assume. Police reports from one study said that 14% of distracted driving accidents happened because people decided to use their phones in the car. At the same time, a massive 61% of these accidents came from daydreaming or getting lost in thought.
How accurate is it?
You may find yourself wondering how accurate these findings are, and there is reason to ask that question. What if a driver doesn't actually make a call or send a text message, meaning there is no record of cellphone use, but still looks down at the screen and crashes? What if that driver then puts their phone away and lies to the responding officers, telling them he or she just started daydreaming?
This could skew the statistics. The accident itself may show that the driver got distracted. Maybe they drifted over the center line and made no attempt to correct their course or hit the brakes. It's fairly clear they stopped looking at the road. But the driver may want to avoid admitting that they used a phone. Police may not have any way to check and find out the truth.
After all, Pennsylvania has passed texting-and-driving laws that not only prohibit such action, but that make it a primary offense. Drivers know that it's not safe to use the phone and they also know it's illegal. If they caused an accident that injured someone else, are they going to admit to the police at the scene that they broke the law? They may not.
Distracted driving in general
Regardless, what this report can show you is that distracted driving happens often and takes many forms. The exact percentages may not matter. No matter what distracted that other driver, if they hit you and put you in the hospital, your injuries are still just as real. You need to know what options you may have to seek financial compensation.