While most of us wouldn't even consider watching a movie, cooking a meal or breaking out our laptop behind the wheel, some people do -- and more frequently than you would think. Call them extreme distracted drivers. While there are no hard statistics on how many accidents and fatalities are caused by extreme distracted drivers, there are plenty of stats on distracted driving in general. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Distraction.gov:
3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. Additionally, 387,000 people were injured by distracted driving.
Nearly one in five crashes or 18 percent of accidents involved a distracted driver in 2010.
Clearly, distraction comes in many forms, and only some of them such as texting are specifically addressed by law. Does the state need to write a law for every extreme-distraction contingency -- say, a law against eating spaghetti and meatballs? Not at all. In many cases, extreme distracted driving equates to reckless driving. According to Thomas J. Simeone of Simeone & Miller, LLP, "Extreme distracted driving can definitely amount to reckless driving. As an example, the District of Columbia's definition of reckless driving includes 'driving in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.' As you can imagine, a jury could easily find driving while reading a book as 'likely to endanger any person or property.' " Even if you avoid a reckless driving charge, many states will issue a "careless driving" ticket. "One of the most outrageous things that I see people do is read a book or map on their steering wheel," Capt. Jeff Goodwin of the Colorado State Patrol says. "In those cases I have ticketed them for careless driving." A reckless or careless driving charge can seriously impact your car insurance rates. Penny Gusner, consumer analyst with CarInsurance.com, says, "Reckless driving is normally a major offense, and your insurance surcharge could be up to 30 percent or more. In North Carolina, it's four points and equal to an 80 percent rate increase." Here are the most outrageous examples of extreme distracted driving we could find. Read them and weep: