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Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted Driving Accidents

How big is the problem?

What exactly is distracted driving? Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts the driver's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions can endanger the driver, their passengers, other motorists or pedestrians, and distractions can put peoples' lives at risk. Every day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in a distracted driving crash. (CDC) All forms of distracted driving can increase the chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident; the three main types of driver distraction include:

  1. Visual – Taking one's eyes off the road;
  2. Manual – Taking one's hands off the steering wheel; and
  3. Cognitive – Taking one's mind off the task of driving.

Common types of driver distraction include: 1) texting while driving, 2) cellular phone use, 3) eating or drinking, 4) adjusting a CD player, a DVD player, or an MP3 player, 5) talking to passengers, 6) reading, including maps or directions, 7) grooming, 8) applying cosmetics, 9) using a navigation system, and 10) watching a video.

While all forms of driver distraction are dangerous, by far texting while driving is the most dangerous driver distraction of all. The reason for this is because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, thereby making it the most alarming form of distraction. The U.S. Department of Transportation has taken the lead to stop texting and cell phone use behind the wheel. Since 2009, the agency has held two national distracted driving summits, its banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, and it has encouraged many states to adopt tough anti-texting laws.

Distracted Driving Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in accidents involving a distracted driver, and an additional 387,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes. In 2010, one in five injury crashes (18%) involved a distracted driver, and in June of 2011, more than 196 billion texts were sent or received in the United States, up nearly 50% from June of 2009. (CDC) According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), cell phone use was reported in 18% of the distracted driving fatalities in the United States. What's more, the NHTSA reports that texting while driving takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, that's the equivalent of driving the full length of a football field at 55 mph while blindfolded!

The CDC conducted a study where it analyzed 2011 data on distracted driving, this analysis included various forms of distracted driving such as talking, texting, and reading email behind the wheel. The research also compared the prevalence of talking on a cell phone or texting while driving in the U.S. and in seven European countries including the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The findings revealed that in the United States, 69% of the drivers ages 18-64 reported talking on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before surveyed. In comparison, only 21% of drivers in the United Kingdom had done the same. In the U.S., 31% of drivers ages 18-64 reported text messaging within 30 days of being surveyed versus 15% for Spain.

Obviously, cellular phone use and texting while driving is a public health concern in the United States. In an effort to combat this problem, many states are enacting laws that ban texting while driving. On September 30, 2009, President Obama issued an executive order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving on government business and on October 27, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned all commercial drivers from texting while driving.

Long Beach Car Accident Attorney

In the state of California there is a handheld ban for all drivers, as well as a ban on texting for all drivers; however, not all California drivers abide by the law and distracted driving crashes still occur every single day. If you or someone you love was injured at the hands of a distracted driver, we urge you to contact a Long Beach car accident lawyer from the Law Office of Leonard Matsuk right away. Attorney Matsuk not only has over 30 years experience in personal injury law, but he is AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and he is included in California's selection of Super Lawyers®. Each of these credentials is excellent qualities to search for in a competent and accomplished lawyer. Contact us today to discuss filing a claim for compensation!

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