According to CBS News, research shows that distracted driving causes more than 67 percent of car accidents. For instance, mobile phones are linked to many accidents. Agitated, angry, tearful, or sad drivers also have more accidents. In short, distracted drivers place themselves and other drivers at higher risk of accidents, injuries, and death.
Distracted driving means the driver’s eyes weren’t focused on the roadway for a period of time. When the driver isn’t focused on the road ahead, this creates the highest crash risk. The greatest causes of distraction in the study included 1) the use of (or reaching for) a handheld mobile device or object, 2) reading, writing, or texting, or 3) using dashboard touchscreens. Cell phone use boosted the driver’s odds of having an accident by approximately four times.
Distracted behaviors such as tuning a radio, eating, drinking nonalcoholic beverages, etc., were included in the study. These actions were considered “less risky.”
The study, performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, evaluates driver risk by comparing “model” driving—sober, alert, and attentive behaviors—to distracted driving. Researchers used internal vehicle videos of more than 3,500 drivers in the U.S. over a three-year period. The volunteer participants allowed the investigators to install devices and cameras in their vehicles to track data such as location and speed.
Researchers evaluated more than 900 crashes that caused either property damage, injury, or both. According to researchers, about 75 percent of crashes involved an error. About 68 percent of these drivers were distracted.
Reviewers of the study asked if the volunteers were better drivers than non-volunteer drivers. Researchers considered this was a “scary thought” because drivers in the study demonstrated less than ideal behaviors behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, drivers in the United States haven’t improved traffic safety in step with other large developed countries. The researchers believe raising drivers’ awareness about the risks of distracted driving is key to improving crash statistics.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed because of another driver’s negligence, contact Berger & Lagnese, LLC in Pittsburgh at 412.275.4122 or via our online contact form to discuss your potential case.
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