What is distracted driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as “a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driv-ing task to focus on some other activity instead.” Officially, distracted driving is a sub-set of inattentive driving, which also includes physical fatigue (being tired) or emotional condition (being upset).
In 2009, an estimated 448,000 people were injured and 5,474 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving. As a percentage of total accidents, distracted driving accounts for 20% of injury accidents and 16% of fatal accidents. The NHTSA report containing these statistics includes a footnote that the numbers are very likely underreported–meaning that it is almost certain that more accidents were caused by distracted driving than are reported here. These numbers are frightening.
Types of behavior that may cause a driver to become distracted from the task of driving include use of a mobile phone or device (texting, talking or searching the Internet), adjusting the radio (iPod, CD, DVD, etc.), being distracted by children or passengers, adjusting a GPS system, using an electric razor, putting on makeup, eating or drinking, lighting a cigarette, picking up something that has fallen, or simply daydreaming. Distractions can also include things outside the vehicle like looking at a prior accident scene or something on the side of the road, an approaching emergency vehicle, or a bug flying in the window.
While you cannot control the behavior of other drivers, you DO have the ability to control your own. Consider as you get in the car how you would feel if your actions caused the injury or death of another? Martinson & Beason strongly encourages all drivers to pay attention to the road–a car in the hands of an unsafe driver is a potential weapon and can cause a tremendous amount of damage.
If you have been injured or a loved one has died in a car accident that was caused by another’s negligence, you should speak with a personal injury attorney today. Click here to find out the questions you should ask before hiring an attorney.
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