Distracted Drivers a Major Factor in Motor Vehicle Accident Rates

Cell phones, smart phones and navigation systems have revolutionized the way we live.  We can now be available to family and business associates around the clock and get where we need to be using a device that guides us.  However, using these devices while driving distracts us from what we should be focusing on – driving safely.  It’s no secret that distracted drivers are a major contributing factor to motor vehicle accident rates across the United States.

Endangering Drivers, Passengers and Bystanders

According to research published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, driver inattention plays a role in nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near–crashes.  The study identified driver distraction as a contributing factor in 93 percent of rear-end collisions.

When drivers are distracted by any activity, whether talking on a cellphone, texting or tuning a radio, their responses to changing traffic conditions are delayed. A delayed reaction leads to a slower braking response, shorter stopping distances, and higher impact collisions because the distracted driver hasn’t applied the brakes in time, according to a 2011 report by the NHTSA and the World Health Organization. Distracted driving makes it more likely that a driver will endanger the lives of passengers, bystanders and themselves.  Drivers who use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to cause injury, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

An analysis of police-reported data in the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that 3,331 people were killed and 393,000 were injured in crashes that involved distracted driving in 2011, according to the IIHS. It is likely that these numbers actually underestimate the role of distracted driving as a contributing factor in crashes.

According to the NHTSA’s website, Distraction.Gov, the most common types of distractions that lead to serious injury or death include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or Smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

Texting and using hand-held phones while driving are probably the most dangerous activities, as they require users to take their eyes off the road – and many of those distracted drivers cause severe rear-end collisions because they fail to brake before impact.

Failure to Brake Before Impact Responsible for Severe Rear-End Collisions

Good driving reflexes have undoubtedly saved many lives.  While all drivers get distracted, quick reactions can avoid or lessen the severity of car accident injuries.  However, those quick reactions generally require paying attention to the road and the other drivers around you.  Drivers who fail to apply their brakes when an accident is imminent make rear-end collisions worse and often cause severe injury or even death to those in the car they hit.

At the Horn Law Firm, we take responsible driving seriously.  Through Drive By Example, a community service organization dedicated to advancing driver safety, our firm has partnered with schools, law enforcement, community groups and others to help implement effective driver safety campaigns that encourage drivers to model the habits and behaviors that protect them, their passengers and others on the roadway.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or truck accident involving a distracted driver, contact The Horn Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your situation and determine if you might be entitled to compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

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