Distracted Driving Myths Debunked

Distracted Driving Myths Debunked

Distracted driving has reached epidemic levels across the U.S. In fact, while many motorists agree that distracted driving can be risky, they still engage in this dangerous practice, putting themselves and others at risk of accidents and injuries.

To highlight just how hazardous this practice can be, the following dispels some of the most prevalent myths about distracted driving.

Myth 1 – Distracted driving doesn’t happen as often as drunk driving.

Wrong! Over the past decade, federal transportation authorities have found that, while drunk driving has been on the decline, distracted driving has been on the rise.1 In fact, the findings have been that, since 2006:

  • Drunk driving across the U.S. has dropped by about 30 percent.
  • Distracted driving has surged by about 28 percent.

Authorities believe that this may be at least partially due to the fact that the dangers of drunk driving are more widely understood (and that’s likely due to decades of anti-drunk driving campaigns). In contrast, the fight to curb distracted driving has only been ongoing on for about a decade or so.

Myth 2 – Drunk driving is far more dangerous and deadly than distracted driving.

Wrong again! Both practices can be incredibly risky because they both can:

  • Impair motorists’ perception of their driving environment
  • Cause motorists to misjudge the proper responses or reactions to their environment
  • Delay motorists’ reaction times.

Arguably, distracted driving may even be more dangerous than drunk driving because it can cause “inattention blindness” (meaning that motorists can miss seeing things despite looking straight at them because their mind is not engaged in the task of driving).

Myth 3 – Using a cellphone at red lights does not qualify as distracted driving.

Untrue! Studies2 have shown that motorists can remain distracted for up to 27 seconds after ending a conversation on a cellphone. This residual distraction can cause motorists to misperceive their driving environment and, consequently, misjudge the appropriate response(s).

Myth 4 – There’s no difference between talking on a cellphone and talking to passengers within the vehicle. Both are equally safe.

False! Studies2 have found that, when you’re speaking to a passenger in the vehicle with you:

  • The passenger is far more likely to tailor the conversation around difficult driving tasks, pausing when more complicated conditions arise.
  • The passenger can help monitor the driving conditions and point out important cues a driver may have overlooked (like, for instance brake lights or stop signs).

In contrast, the person on the other end of the cellphone will not be able to alter the conversation based on the changing driving conditions or point out things a driver has not seen. So, clearly, there IS a difference between chatting with someone in your vehicle versus someone on a cellphone line.

Myth 5 – Using hands-free devices will not distract motorists.

False again! Hand-free devices cannot overcome the inattention blindness that can arise when motorists are talking on cellphones. This inattention blindness can cause them to miss seeing as much as 50 percent of their driving environment in some cases.

Hurt in an Auto Wreck? Contact a Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyer at Wills Law, P.C.

If you or a loved one has been injured in distracted driving accident or in any auto crash, you need an experienced attorney on your side now. You need a Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyer Wm Andrew “Drew” Wills II.

Call (719) 633-8500 or email the firm to schedule a free case evaluation with Drew and get information about your legal options.

Attorney Drew Wills II has more than 30 years of experience and success in car accident cases. This has given him a deep understanding of how to help injured people successfully navigate the recovery process so they can secure the compensation they deserve.

From offices based in Colorado Springs, Attorney Drew Wills II represents clients throughout El Paso County and Colorado.


1: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
2: According to the National Safety Council (NSC)