The Dangers of Distracted Driving

California drivers may witness the effects of distracted driving with increasing frequency. Distracted driving occurs when drivers engage in any activity that takes their hands off the steering wheel and their mind and eyes off the road. Some examples of distracted driving might include eating behind the wheel, adjusting the radio or texting while driving.

Because texting involves manual, visual and mental distraction, it increases the risk of becoming involved in a car crash by threefold over other distracted driving activities. In 2009, the United States Department of Transportation determined that it take an average of five seconds to text while driving. This is enough time for a driver who is traveling 55 mph to travel the distance of a football field with their eyes covered.

The percentage of drivers who text while driving and the number of accidents involving distracted drivers may be startling to some readers. In 2012, 3,328 people died in crashes that involved distracted drivers. That same year, 421,000 people were injured. That figure is a 9 percent increase over the previous year.

Authorities report that 10 percent of fatal accidents involved distracted drivers under 20 years of age, and 27 percent involved drivers in their 20s. Older drivers are also not immune to distracted driving; 10 percent of parents admit to engaging in multi-message texting while driving. Governmental authorities estimate that beginning in 2010 and remaining steady since then, 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices while driving every minute of every day.

When car accidents result from distracted driving, the injuries survivors suffer are often disabling and life-changing. The need for increased medical and life care assistance could be a major concern, particularly when they are no longer able to work following a crash. By pursuing a personal injury claim, accident victims might benefit from pursuing the liable party for reimbursement of the expenses arising from the accident.

Source: Distraction.gov, "What is Distracted Driving?", December 19, 2014

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