Auto accidents claim thousands of lives in the United States each year, but one cause of those deaths that appears to be in the rise is distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission notes that over 3,000 people died as the result of distracted driving in 2017 alone.  Those who must deal with the aftermath of their loved one’s injuries or death may have questions about the accident, especially if they plan to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, about the differences between distracted and careless driving.

Distracted driving incidents are often caused by young or inexperienced drivers who are paying more attention to their cell phones, music and passenger conversation than they are on the road. Eating, applying makeup and having an unrestrained pet in the car can also cause serious distractions for any driver. Rear-end collisions are often common with distracted driving, as motorists take their eyes off the road and collide with those in front of them. Turning off cell phones and concentrating on traffic patterns and speeds can reduce the risk of a distracted driving accident.

Careless and distracted driving are somewhat connected; however, there is usually more negligence involved with careless driving. The Tacoma News Tribune reported one such incident when a driver neglected to tie down his load and a loose metal rod nearly resulted in the impalement of a motorist behind him. Other careless driving behaviors may include lazy signaling and disregarding road or highway safety signs, such as those that warn of unsafe passing zones.

Some states have distracted driving laws in place that may reduce the risk of serious and fatal accidents. Several campaigns include partnerships with state police, who offer information about which incidents are most common and may need to be addressed immediately.