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How much of a problem is distracted driving?

As a previous post highlighted, distracted driving is dangerous and could lead to serious and even fatal collisions in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the U.S. Whether drivers takes their eyes off of the road, removes their hand or hands from the driving wheel or takes their focus off of driving by having a phone or in-person conversation, all of these activities can cause drivers to take their minds off the primary task of driving. No matter if this lasts for a split second or not, engaging in any distracting activity increases the risks and chances of an accident occurring.

How serious is distracted driving? According to recent reports, this is a very serious issue for drivers across the nation. Because there are so many forms of distractions and drivers encounter numerous distractions every time they get behind the wheel of a vehicle, it is important to understand ways to prevent these distractions.

According to a 2012 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16 percent of all motor vehicle accidents involved a distracted driver. During that time, roughly 3,328 individuals were killed in an accident involving a distracted driver. Additionally, 421,000 individuals were injured in a serious collision involving a distracted driver. Lastly, the report indicated that 540 non-automobile occupants, such as a pedestrian or cyclist, were killed in an accident involving a distracted driver.

Because of these concerning statistics, drivers should be aware of ways to avoid distractions while driving. Phones are a common cause for distractions, so it is important to either turn them off or keep them out of reach while driving. Additionally, drivers should be sure to be fully acquainted with the vehicle before driving it. That means having the seat and mirrors fully adjusted and understanding where all necessary knobs and buttons are. Lastly, drivers should avoid emotion-inducing conversations with passengers. Emotions such as sadness, stress or anger could cause the driver's mind to no longer be on driving safe.

Despite the efforts to raise awareness and reduce distracted driving, these types of accident unfortunately occur. Because of this, victims of an automobile collision should understand the actions they could take following the crash. If negligence such as distracted driving caused the crash, responsibility could be placed on that driver, allowing victims to seek compensation from them.

Source: Cdc.gov, "Distracted Driving," accessed Sept. 7, 2015

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