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Everybody in northern Kentucky knows that using your cellphone with your hand while driving is a form of distracted driving, even the people who choose to do it anyway. But you may not realize how little distraction it takes to reduce a driver’s ability to drive safely.

Categories of distraction

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three types of distractions affect driving: visual, manual and cognitive. A visual distraction is anything that takes your eyes off the road. Something that causes you to take one or both hands off the steering wheel is a manual distraction. And a cognitive distraction causes your mind to lose focus on the task of driving.

For example, reaching over to change the music on the radio would be a manual distraction. A conversation with a passenger could be a cognitive distraction. Obviously, some activities fit into more than one of these categories. Opening up your phone to read a text message would be both a visual and manual distraction. Eating behind the wheel could be a manual and cognitive distraction at the same time.

Whatever a distracted driver is doing to reduce their focus on the road, they are putting themselves and others in danger. A few seconds is all it can take. If a driver going 55 mph takes their eyes off the road for five seconds, by the time they look through the windshield again, their vehicle has traveled the length of a football field. Plenty of ground in which to cause a serious car crash.

The consequences of distracted driving

The results are often deadly. Every day, an estimated nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are hurt in wrecks caused by a distracted driver. Distracted driving is one of the worst decisions a motorist can make.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you need to know how Kentucky law allows people to seek financial compensation from the person who negligently harmed them. A phone call with a personal injury attorney can get many of your questions answered.