Many Tennessee drivers are aware of the dangers of being distracted on the roadways. Whether the distraction is a mobile phone or an advanced entertainment system, anything that draws the eyes and mind from the road ahead could spell disaster in case of a car accident. While device-oriented distracted driving has received substantial publicity and awareness campaigns, one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving is also the simplest: daydreaming behind the wheel.

In fact, daydreaming while driving can cause far more motor vehicle accidents each year than infotainment system use or texting while driving. In one study, Erie Insurance examined a national database of accident statistics to look at police determinations of the causes of crashes. In the past five years, 172,000 people were killed in traffic collisions; of those, about 10 percent lost their lives in crashes linked to distracted driving. The most common cause of distraction listed in the report was simply daydreaming or intrusive thoughts; about 61 percent of fatal crashes that involved distracted driving were attributed to an inattentive, bored driver. In comparison, only 14 percent of the fatal crashes were attributed to distraction caused by cellphone usage.

One reason why many are excited about the opportunities provided by autonomous vehicle technology is the potential it presents for reducing motor vehicle accidents. However, current technology still requires drivers to keep their mind on the road; some studies show that people can become more complacent than they should be while using semi-autonomous technologies.

People who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to another driver’s distracted, dangerous or otherwise negligent driving may want to consult with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer may help accident victims pursue compensation for the harms done by a crash, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.