Types of driver distraction

While everyone has heard that distracted driving leads to tickets and accidents, many Florida drivers do not realize how big the problem really is. Channel 8 News reported that despite a law passed that bans texting while driving, the state’s police force still issued 3,400 citations in 18 months. Distracted driving contributed to the death of 214 people, 198 of those being the vehicle driver, and over 45,000 crashes in the year 2015 alone. When it comes to distracted driving, many drivers do not understand exactly what qualifies. Forms of distraction are divided into three categories.


When a distraction causes the driver to remove his or her hands from the wheel for any reason, it is considered a manual distraction. Examples of this type include the following:

  • Picking up something that has fallen to the floor
  • Putting on makeup
  • Getting something out of a purse
  • Eating or drinking
  • Handing something to a person in the back

While manual distractions can occur in conjunction with other types of distraction, they do require that at least one hand is removed from the wheel.


Cognitive distractions cause drivers to lose mental focus on the road and think about something else instead. While this can mean the driver is simply daydreaming about anything besides the road and losing focus, it can come from a variety of sources. Listening to audio, such as music, podcasts or other passengers, can change the driver’s focus. This type of distraction is more likely when the driver is stressed or preoccupied with work, school, family or personal concerns.


Removing the eyes from the road is termed visual distraction. This could come from watching something on a digital entertainment system, looking at someone in the back seat, staring at something on the side of the road or reading anything while driving.

Many forms of distraction encompass more than one type, such as changing a radio station. Cell phones are particularly dangerous because they require all three types to read a text message, make a phone call or look up a website. With distracted driving contributing so heavily to the number of Florida car accidents, it is important for drivers to be aware of how often they are becoming distracted. If you have been involved in a car accident because of someone else’s lack of focus on the road, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive the compensation and help you deserve. Contact a lawyer today to help you recover and get you back on the road.