To pigeonhole is “to assign to a definite place or to definite places in some orderly system.”  To pigeonhole something, you make a quick judgment about it so that you can categorize it as part of some larger whole, rather than another piece of information to keep track of.  Pigeonholing objects or ideas is an efficient way to file away information for later access and reference.  Pigeonholing human beings, while generally frowned upon as indicative of some insidious “ism,” may do the same thing in select contexts:  different ethnic groups are susceptible to different illnesses to different degrees; the buyers of Dr. Who T-shirts are overwhelmingly fans of Dr. Who; and people brandishing knives are more likely to attack you than people flicking rubber bands.  Provided that correlation is never conflated with causation and that generalizations are never used to discriminate against individuals, pigeonholing is not inherently bad.

Sometimes it can even be a good thing, such as when a person hears of a correlation or circumstance that touches themselves, and they may examine their actions and the possible consequences thereof.  It is with this aim in mind that the following list of stereotypes is written:  that those who fit one of the following categories may consider changing the habits common among members of the listed groups.

 1. Americans in General

A CDC study examining the habits of drivers in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States found that American drivers are the most likely to use a phone while driving.  In fact, 69% of drivers in the U.S. have done so at least once, almost 10% more than made similar claims in Portugal (which follows up the U.S. on the list).   Not only do Americans take the prize for distracted driving; they win by a wide margin.  Thanks to the collective efforts of sidetracked drivers nationwide, distracted driving causes approximately 3,000 accidents per year.

2. Adults

It’s easy to stereotype teenagers as moody, self-absorbed, inattentive, thoughtless beings because they are at an age at which their brains are still undeveloped, yet they are taking on adult responsibilities that heighten the consequences of their inevitable missteps.  However, it is the adults who know better who are most guilty of texting and driving.  According to statistics from AT&T, adults not only fail to set the bar to an acceptable height; they do not even attain the height of teen drivers:  while 43% of teenagers text and drive, the rate was 49% for adults.  Considering that some 60% of teens report having parents who text and drive, it seems that this particular pigeonhole is unfair.

3. New Moms

Nothing is more distracting than a crying baby—literally nothing.  In a study of 2,000 moms, motherhood appeared to increase the number of obstacles to safe driving more than it motivates safe practices.  While 63% of new moms claimed to be more careful on the road, the truth is that they have a terrible time trying to focus when a child is fussing behind them.  Their focus is further compromised by almost constant fatigue and—incomprehensibly—a tendency to check their phones while transporting their child.  It defies logic that exhausted moms should endanger their children’s safety by texting and driving, yet this is apparently not uncommon.  One thing that all drivers should remember, mothers or not, is that no time gained is worth the risk of injury.

4. Jerks

While there are many ways to be inconsiderate on the road, this guy deserves a category of his own:  not content with mere texting and driving, this German driver takes distracted driving to a new level by installing an office in his vehicle.  After he was pulled over for driving 20 mph over the speed limit, the officers found a laptop, printer, two cell phones, and a GPS system in the front passenger seat.  There was no evidence that he was using any of the equipment while speeding; but such an arrangement can only have suspect motives.

While no driver is perfect, every driver can shun distractions; and they are legally obligated to do so for the benefit of others on the road.  Likewise, if someone is harmed in a distracted driving accident, the one at fault is obligated to cover the damages.  If you or someone close to you has suffered injury in a distracted driving accident, but for some reason, cannot cover your with the compensation offered, call personal injury attorneys Christensen & Hymas at (801) 506-0800 to find out whether there is more to your case than meets the eye.

Image courtesy of Melina Manfrinatti

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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