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What Is the #1 Cause of Distracted Driving?

When you picture an example of distracted driving, you probably imagine someone texting while driving. That’s no coincidence. A huge amount of time, effort, and money have gone toward campaigns against texting and driving—but is it possible that these programs are missing the real #1 cause of distracted driving?

The #1 Cause of Distracted Driving

In 2019, there were 36,550 distracted driving fatalities across the US. Of those, cell phone use played a factor in just 13%. All this data points to the same conclusion. The #1 cause of distracted driving isn’t cell phones, it’s daydreaming and general inattention.

Daydreaming is a powerful cognitive distraction because it pulls us out of the present moment and causes us to drive by muscle memory, especially on familiar routes like the daily commute.

The dangers of daydreaming have been known for years. In 2013, Erie Insurance released a report claiming that just 12% of distracted driving fatalities were caused by cell phones and 61% were caused by daydreaming. In 2018, they doubled down and released a second report with almost identical results.

Why Daydreaming Doesn’t Get the Same Attention

There’s a fair amount of evidence from both government and private agencies suggesting that daydreaming is the top cause of distracted driving, not cellphone use. So why has texting and driving become the poster child of the distracted driving movement? Because it’s simple to understand and it’s easy to resolve.

Anyone can turn their phone off and it’s easy to make safety campaigns based around that idea. It’s much harder to turn your brain off, to silence all the thoughts that pull you away from the road and cause you to think about your day, what you’ll make for dinner, or whatever idea pops into your head.

There’s no quick fix to this issue. The only way to prevent daydreaming is to practice techniques to help you stay focused while driving and to always remain alert to the dangers of the road.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car crash and have questions about Ohio insurance, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer from Ross, Midian & Breitmayer, LLC, please don’t hesitate to call (614) 450-2223 or send us an email.