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A distracted driver is an accident waiting to happen

It is likely that nearly all young drivers in California are incredulous when they find out it was once common for drivers and their passengers to forgo the use of seatbelts, even after their use became law. Perhaps future generations of drivers will be just as amazed to learn how common distracted driving is today, despite the laws in place aimed at ending the dangerous practice.

How prevalent is distracted driving?

According to statistics on a United States government website devoted to distracted driving, 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. An additional 431,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers.

Leading causes of distracted driving

While you may think of cell phones as the sole cause of distracted driving, the truth is there are many possible distractions for a driver. These include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Personal grooming
  • Using a GPS
  • Adjusting a radio or MP3 player
  • Talking with passengers

Anything that diverts a driver's attention from the road or his or her control of the vehicle, either physically or mentally, is considered a distraction. However, cell phone use is the main cause of most distracted driving accidents.

Cell phone use among drivers remains dangerously high

Almost all 50 states have enacted laws forbidding drivers from texting while driving, and the use of any handheld device by a driver is prohibited in numerous states, including California. Despite these legislative efforts, distracted driving continues seemingly unabated.

Statistics indicate some 660,000 American motorists are using a phone or other handheld electronic device at any given time while the sun is up. Data gathered in a 2015 survey by an insurance company revealed that one out of every three drivers admitted to texting while driving, and 75 percent reported seeing another driver text and drive.

Needless to say, more people have cell phones than ever before. In fact, 80 percent of drivers in 2014 reported owning a cell phone, up from 52 percent in 2011. Given the incredible proliferation of cell phone ownership, it is a small wonder that distracted driving has become as much of a concern as impaired driving, if not more so.

What should I do if I have an accident with a distracted driver?

Motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver may range from minor fender benders to serious collisions causing grievous personal injuries. Tending to your own health should be the primary focus after your crash.

Next on your agenda should probably be to contact a personal injury law firm. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you win the compensation to which you are entitled, which will allow you to put your life back on track after an unfortunate accident.

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