Accidents caused by distracting passengers

Last updated on: November 28, 2022

Driving while distracted is consistently one of the more common causes of car accidents. Distracted driving includes operating a vehicle while texting, eating, or even talking to other passengers. In some cases, passengers may become rambunctious and take part in dangerous activities, such as grabbing and messing with the steering wheel. In these instances, the passenger may be held responsible for any resulting accident. Driving with passengers is especially risky for teenage drivers.

If you or your loved one were in a motor vehicle accident that involved distracting passengers, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Zinda Law Group attorneys have the knowledge and ability necessary to investigate your case, determine who is at fault, and fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve. Call (888) 436-2443 to speak with a Zinda Law Group car accident attorney today for your free consultation.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is a broad term that encompasses driving while engaging in any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. It can include things like speaking with a passenger, texting, or even adjusting the temperature controls in a vehicle. Distracted driving can seem innocuous in the moment, but in the blink of an eye it can lead to devastating, even fatal results. Distractions to drivers fall into three main categories: visual, in which a driver’s eyes are taken off of the road; manual, in which a driver’s hands are taken off of the wheel; and cognitive, in which a driver’s mind is taken off of the act of driving.

Are passengers more distracting to drivers than cell phones?

Many people are aware that texting while driving is very dangerous, and even illegal in many states. In fact, at 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a text can result in the equivalent of driving an entire football field with your eyes closed. However, in certain circumstances, passengers can be just as distracting, if not more so, than sending a text.

Giving Driving Advice

Most of us are familiar with the term “backseat driver,” in which a passenger gives unwanted driving advice to the driver. More than being simply an annoyance, however, giving driving advice while a driver is actively driving can potentially be dangerous. Even if their eyes never leave the road, driving advice can result in a cognitive distraction in which a driver’s attention is shifted off of the road.

Eating or Drinking

A passenger eating or drinking in the car is another activity that may seem perfectly harmless but could distract a driver. Even if the driver isn’t eating or drinking themselves, the smell or sound could potentially distract them and take their attention away from the road. If the driver themselves is eating or drinking, then this also adds the element of a manual distraction in which their hands are taken off of the wheel.

Playing Loud Music

Constantly switching up the music choices, or just playing very loud music is another thing that could distract a driver. While music isn’t visual and a driver may listen to it with both hands firmly on the wheel, it is important to remember that a cognitive distraction can still be dangerous.

Fighting and Shouting

Fighting and shouting, even if it doesn’t involve the driver themselves, is another thing that can take off their mind off the most important task at hand, which is driving. Passengers should take care not to fight or shout if they can help while on the road.

How Do Passengers Cause Distracted Driving Crashes?

Many people may think that the person who is ultimately responsible for an accident that occurs is the person driving the vehicle. While the driver certainly does have a responsibility to drive in a safe way, there can be other factors involved. Passengers, if engaging in any of the activities discussed above, can create a distraction to the driver and cause them to devote less attention to the road. Even if these activities seem minor at the moment and are harmless the majority of the time, it only takes a split second for an accident to occur.

Distracted Driving Statistics 2022

While data from 2022 specifically isn’t available regarding the details of distracted driving crashes, the unfortunate truth is that distracted driving continues to cause crashes on a daily basis. Parents and guardians should discuss with teenage drivers the importance of not driving while distracted. Although obvious distractions may include texting or other cell phone use, teens may not know that other passengers may prove to be deadly distractions. If a teen is distracted by a passenger, he or she may lose control of the vehicle. This may lead to an accident, resulting in serious injury, or death, to the driver and/or the passengers.

Distracted Driving Statistics Over Time

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) has reported that in 2018, almost 2,500 teens were killed in a motor vehicle accident. Further, approximately 285,000 teenagers were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. The CDC has also found that motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.  

One important risk factor for teenagers is driving with young passengers. The presence of teenage passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has put forth a study on the effects of teenage driving when there is at least one passenger involved. Overall, the study found that carrying young passengers is a significant risk factor for teen drivers. The study has also found that, when compared to driving with no passengers, a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of death per mile driven:

  • Increases 44% when carrying one passenger younger than 21 years old
  • Doubles when carrying two passengers younger than 21 years old
  • Quadruples when carrying three or more passengers younger than 21
  • Decreases approximately 62% when a passenger 35 years or older is in the vehicle

The AAA study also found that nearly 40% of teenagers killed in a motor vehicle accident during the study’s period had at least one passenger younger than 21 years old in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Car Accidents While Talking To Passengers

There are many different ways in which a motor vehicle accident may occur. For example, the driver may run a red light, be texting, or may be distracted by a rowdy passenger. If you have been involved in a car accident that you believe was caused by a distracting passenger, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. If a passenger was acting negligently, he or she may be held liable for the compensation owed to the victim of the wreck.

If you have been involved in an accident and are wondering: “Is there a law firm near me?” or “Is there a personal injury lawyer near me?” Contact our nationwide team today. Zinda Law Group attorneys available nationwide may be able to help investigate your unique case, determine who is at fault, and fight by your side to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage.

At Zinda Law Group, we believe that our clients should not have to worry about affording top quality legal representation on top of their hefty medical bills and property damage costs. This is why we work on a contingency fee basis. Our clients do not pay us anything unless we are successful in winning their case. That is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Contact our personal injury firm today at (888) 436-2443 for your 100% free consultation.