The 3 categories of distracted driving

| Mar 11, 2020 | Distracted driving

Developers and companies have created apps to reward safe drivers, states have increased fines to penalize drivers and activism has become a constant presence to educate drivers, yet, distracted driving is still prevalent on today’s roads. Even the slightest diversion can send a vehicle in the wrong direction, leading to a potentially serious or even fatal crash.

As citizens, we like to multitask, always trying to do more than one thing at once. We are always to busy and thus, always in a rush. One action that should be our singular focus, is driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,166 people died due to the actions of distracted drivers in 2017, which accounted for over 8% of the total deaths in the United States that year, which equates to nearly nine fatalities every day.

It’s a sobering statistic, but one that can be lowered if drivers focus on the task at hand. 

Distracted can be broken down into three categories: cognitive, visual and manual.


A cognitive distraction is one that consumes the driver’s mind, diverting their attention away from the road. These kinds of distractions can be nearly impossible to eradicate because they have to do with conversing with a passenger, thinking about daily life or listening to music or a podcast.


Visual distractions include any action that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, including looking at your GPS, turning around to scold your kids, or getting a closer look at something you passed on the road, among others.


Manual distractions encompass an action that leads to the driver taking one or both hands off the wheel. Many drivers choose to drive one-handed most of the time. While that action is a manual distraction, activities that can be more dangerous involve eating and drinking, applying makeup, putting on a child’s seat belt, managing the GPS, changing the song, or grabbing an item for a bag, purse or briefcase, among others.

Did you notice that texting and driving wasn’t mentioned? That’s because texting and driving, the most common reason for distracted driving incidents, distracts you in all three ways cited above.

Every driver and passenger wants to reach their destination safely and avoid becoming the next distracted driving statistic. Still, if you were involved in a car accident that left you injured, a personal injury attorney can be a helpful resource when seeking due compensation.