What constitutes distracted driving?

When we hear “distracted driving,” most of us envision a teenager behind the wheel texting a friend or Snapchatting with some silly filter while sitting in traffic. In reality, while those examples certainly fit the definition, distracted driving is a much broader issue.

There are three types of distracted driving: manual, visual and cognitive. Texting and driving gets a lot of the focus because texting impairs all three of these functions, but there are plenty of other activities that fit into these categories.

Examples of distracted driving

Examples of manual distracted driving activities are:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Adjusting a child’s seatbelt
  • Smoking
  • Searching through a purse or wallet
  • Turning knobs in the car

Examples of visual distracted driving activities are:

  • Looking for items on the car floor
  • Checking and adjusting a GPS
  • Changing the radio
  • Adjusting temperature controls
  • Taking in the view while driving
  • Applying makeup

Examples of cognitive distracted driving activities are:

  • Talking to a passenger
  • Thinking about something upsetting
  • Road rage
  • Daydreaming
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drowsy driving

Kentucky’s distracted driving laws prohibit all drivers from texting and ban novice drivers and bus drivers from any kind of cell phone activity behind the wheel. Legally speaking, none of the other forms of distracted driving are considered unlawful and would not incur a penalty. However, a driver engaging in any of these activities while on the road could still very easily cause an accident and put you in danger.

As you are out on the road, keep an eye out for these drivers and know that while texting and driving is a serious issue, it is not the only reason someone may be careless and cause a car accident.

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