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What activities cause distracted driving accidents?

Despite all the public service announcements urging drivers to pay attention to the road, distracted driving continues to be a major problem on American highways and streets. Distracted driving causes nine deaths every day and approximately $40 billion in economic losses yearly.

What's really behind the problem?

While a lot of people rush to blame smartphones for the problem, there's plenty of evidence that phones aren't the only distraction drivers let get in the way of good driving. For example, information provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA) indicates that dogs are a big distraction for 31% of drivers.

Texting while driving is a problem. However, other distracted driving behaviors include grooming while driving, listening to music, eating, drinking and looking at a global positing system (GPS).

While some distractions are preventable, others aren't -- like talking passengers. Some people are better at shutting out distractions than others.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the average driver faces three different types of distractions:

1. Cognitive distractions -- These are probably the most common. They involve the driver splitting their attention between two tasks, like listening to a passenger's animated conversation while driving.

2. Visual distractions -- These are usually associated with electronic devices. They involve the driver taking their eyes briefly off the road. It includes things like glancing down at a text message or looking at the map on a GPS system.

3. Manual distractions -- These cause a driver to take their hands off the wheel. If you've ever fished around behind your seat for a snack or a drink or eaten while driving, you've been guilty of a manual distraction.

Distracted driving of any sort can lead to serious accidents that can change a life forever. If you've been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one due to another person's distracted driving, it's important to find out everything you can about the legal options that are open to you for recovery.

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