Thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people drink coffee while driving in the St. Louis area. While this may seem like a rather mundane thing, consider this: eating and drinking are types of distraction and all types of distraction are dangerous while driving. All types of distraction place everyone on the road at risk for an auto accident.
Cellphone use is often cited as the biggest distracted driving concern. All but four states have banned using a handheld device for typing or texting while driving. In Illinois, it’s illegal to use a handheld device while driving at all. And, while it is concerning that Missouri only prohibits those 21 and under from texting or typing while driving, focusing all attention on cellphone use as a form of distraction misses the larger point. Anything that takes your eyes or attention off of the road is a form of distraction. Anything at all.
A Different Kind of Drinking and Driving
Cellphone use is the second leading cause of distracted driving, coming in just behind daydreaming (being “lost in thought”) and accounting for 14% of these accidents. However, eating and drinking while driving increase crash risks two to three times over, and contribute to at least 2% of all distracted driving accidents yearly. That may seem insignificant, but distraction is a known factor in about 80% of all car accidents. If putting the coffee cup down means any type of reduction, it’s probably worth putting the coffee cup down.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people fussing with food and beverage containers in their cars are responsible for 65% of all near-miss car accidents and are 80% more likely to be involved in accidents. Can you guess which beverage the administration identified as the most dangerous? Coffee, of course.
August is National Coffee Month and a great time to consider how and when we consume this popular beverage. The best way to prevent distracted driving accidents is to modify our behaviors that increase risks. This includes only eating and drinking outside of the car. It also includes:
- Avoiding all cellphone use, including hands-free options
- Adjusting your radio or portable music device before you begin your trip
- Programming GPS or maps before you start the car
- Applying makeup and performing other grooming tasks outside of your car
- Keeping your eyes and attention focused entirely on the task of driving
Might your mind wander while you’re driving? Of course, everyone’s mind wanders, that’s why daydreaming is the leading cause of distracted driving accidents. Every step you take towards reducing inattention is a step towards reducing serious and fatal car accidents. Each of those steps is worth the effort.
What to do If You’re Injured
If you’re injured by a distracted driver, you have every right to hold that person accountable and seek compensation well in excess of insurance company settlement offers. Give us a call at 314-333-3333 or at 618-888-8888 to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
Brown & Brown maintains offices in St. Louis, Missouri and Fairview Heights, Illinois. We represent victims of serious injury throughout Missouri and Illinois and can always travel to your location if coming to us is made difficult by your injury. Call us today for a free consultation where we can review your case, discuss all of your options, and help you choose the best way to get the compensation you deserve.