For most people, the term distracted driving will make them think of someone with their mobile phone in their hand. Particularly when talking about the distraction caused by digital technology or screens, most people think of phones as the primary culprit. Some people are so confused about sources of distraction while driving that they think that certain kinds of screens are safe to use while at the wheel.
According to a national survey of drivers, more than 53% of surveyed drivers believe that there is less risk involved in using the screens built into their vehicles’ consoles or a GPS system than a mobile phone while at the wheel. Unfortunately for those people and everyone with whom they share the road, that is a highly mistaken belief.
Any screen you interact with takes your eyes and mind off the road
There are a number of mistaken beliefs that contribute to the idea that people can interact with certain kinds of screens without any risk. Among them is the idea that a car manufacturer would not install a screen unless it was safe to do so. Those screens can be as distracting as hand-held devices if a driver looks down and interacts with them while the vehicle is in motion.
People may also believe that if they just glance down at a screen to quickly read or check information and look back up at the road that they won’t stay distracted for very long. The truth is that any distraction that takes your eyes off the road or your mind off the task of driving safely could put you in a position where you are more likely to cause a crash.
Whether you want to adjust the volume on your GPS unit or change how strong the blowers run on your car’s climate control system, it is usually better to make such changes when you have already stopped the vehicle. Alternatively, you can ask a passenger to make those changes for you.
Regardless of the kind of screen or device involved, if a driver engages in distracted driving practices and then causes a crash, they will likely carry the financial and legal liability for their actions afterward.