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Facts and dangers of encountering a distracted driver


One of the most dangerous factors in car accidents leading to serious injury and death is a distracted driver. This can affect pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other drivers of all ages. While the risks of encountering a distracted driver are known in a general way, it is beneficial to understand the realities and the statistics as to how risky the act is.

Texting and driving is one of the most common ways in which drivers will be distracted in today's world, but there are other ways in which drivers can have their focus removed from what should be their priority -- driving. These include changing radio stations, reading, watching videos, talking to others in the vehicle, grooming, eating, drinking and using a smartphone for reasons other than texting. The act of texting or using a smartphone requires multiple levels of attention making it a danger on several different planes.

More than 3,100 people were killed in car crashes due to distracted drivers in 2013 alone. While this was a reduction of 6.7 percent from the previous year, it is still a large number. Add in that an estimated 424,000 people were injured in car accidents in 2013 -- an increase of around 3,000 from 2012 -- and it is clear that this is still a major problem. The fact is that more and more people are using text messaging as a preferred method of communication. By December 2013, there were greater than 153 billion text messages sent in the United States and U.S. territories.

Across the country, at any particular moment, approximately 660,000 drivers use mobile phones or devices while they are driving. That number has been static since 2010. The possibility of getting into an accident while doing this increased threefold. The average amount of time a driver is not looking at the road when manipulating a device is five seconds. While many think using a headset increases safety when, in reality, it does not.

Those who have been in a car accident and suffered serious injury or lost a loved one in an accident need to know how it happened. If it was due to a distracted driver, this is a key point when considering a lawsuit. When injured in a car accident, it is important to have a legal professional to help with an investigation and in seeking to be compensated after it has happened.

Source: distraction.gov, "Facts and Statistics -- Distracted Driving," accessed on Nov. 23, 2015

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