Research Finds Distracted Driving Among the Most Dangerous Driver Behaviors


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Pretty much everyone is aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Society has made it a societal focus for decades now. Stricter laws, heightened enforcement and other measures, such as devices that make it impossible for drivers with a certain blood alcohol content to start their car, have dramatically reduced deaths and accidents related to drunk driving. Federal statistics show that 12,405 drunk driving fatalities took place in 2002, compared to 9,296 in 2011, a decline of 25 percent.

And yet, accidents and fatalities from distracted driving continue to rise. Texting while driving has become a major cause of distracted-driving accidents. Drivers who text while driving experience a nearly 25 percent greater likelihood of an accident, the same as a driver who consumes four beers and then takes to the road. No matter the cause of distraction, distracted driving is dangerous, leading to nearly 3,500 fatalities in 2015. That increased from about 2,600 deaths in 2002 and 3,331 highway fatalities in 2011.

Accidents Caused by Distracted Drivers Are Increasing

Distracted drivers are a major cause of accidents. A study by the Governors Highway Safety Association found distracted driving at least a factor (if not the primary cause) of accidents resulting in 3,450 highway fatalities. That amounted to more than 9 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2016—and does not include the thousands more who are injured each year in accidents caused by distracted driving. The GHSA contends that cell phone use and texting are two of the most common distractions.

Of course, while cell phones and texting are among the leading causes of driver distraction, they are by no means the only sources of distraction. Federal statistics show that any activity that diverts attention from driving a vehicle can distract a driver. This can include using your smartphone for other tasks such as email or web browsing, changing stations on your radio, or adjusting the setting on infotainment or navigation systems.

In fact, a study by the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the hands-free systems of most major car makers all were more distracting than using a cell phone. Levels of mental distraction lasted as long as 27 seconds after using a hands-free system to complete a distracting task.

Nonetheless, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration finds that texting is likely the most dangerous distraction. Reading or sending a text message can take your attention away from the road for as long as five seconds. When you drive 55 miles per hour, you will travel about 100 yards in that time.

Injured in an Accident Caused by a Distracted Driver in the Richmond Area? Call Emroch & Kilduff Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you suffered an injury in an accident in the Richmond area that a distracted driver caused, get in touch with an experienced attorney who can help you. Emroch & Kilduff specialize in personal injury law. They can help you. Reach us at (804) 358-1568 or through our online contact form.