Many car accidents are caused by drivers who are distracted while behind the wheel. Distracted driving is any behavior that takes your attention away from the road, including using your cell phone to make a call or send a text, applying makeup, eating, or talking to or dealing with a passenger in the vehicle. While cell phones are often the reason for distracted driving that leads to car accidents, an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report cited on says, “Passengers are one of the most frequently reported causes of distraction.”

Any person riding in a car, especially young children, can put a driver at risk for a distraction that results in a car accident. If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, you may be able to receive compensation for damages. Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum

How Passengers Distract Drivers

There are many ways that a passenger can distract a driver. Even if it’s unintentional, this distracting behavior can cause the driver to lose focus and crash. Accidents can happen when passengers are:


Some passengers may shout, talk loudly, or get unruly during a ride in the car. This can make it difficult for the driver to hear what is going on around them and lose focus on the road.


When a passenger is arguing with the driver, it can cause the driver to experience frustration or anger. When this happens, the driver might speed up or drive aggressively and not pay attention to the job of driving.

Eating or drinking.

Passengers may eat or drink while in the car and distract the driver by offering a bite of their food or handing a drink from the back seat to the driver. If the driver takes their eyes off the road even for a second, it can cause an accident.  

Giving driving advice.

At times, a passenger may offer driving advice or criticize the way you are driving. This can cause a mental distraction and possibly make you doubt your driving decisions, which could lead to a driving mistake.

Playing loud music.

It can be difficult to focus on the road when music is blaring in the car. A passenger might turn up the volume on the stereo and cause a distraction.

Becoming restless.

Children in the car can easily become restless, especially on a long trip. They may get bored, hungry, or tired and begin to get restless and complain. This can cause a driver to focus on the child instead of the road.

If you are driving and become distracted by a passenger, there are several things to do to continue your trip more safely, including:

  • Tell the passenger to stop the behavior and explain that it’s distracting. Sometimes that’s enough to get the person to end the disruptive conduct.
  • Pull over and stop the car until the distraction ends. If a passenger is unruly or will not stop the behavior, you may need to ask them to get out of the car. Don’t get back on the road until you have the situation under control and feel it is safe to resume driving.
  • Explain the rules of riding in the car before you begin your trip. If you often have to use the rearview mirror or talk to your children in the back seat to stop a squabble or deal with their behavior, remind them of the responsibilities that go with driving and their responsibilities as passengers.

When to Seek the Advice of an Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, whether it was due to a passenger in their car, cell phone use, or any other reason, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your financial losses and suffering. Call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to help with your claim. An attorney will investigate your case to determine if the distracted driver can be held liable. You may be able to receive compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering

Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help accident victims in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.


Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.