Research shows danger of encountering a distracted driver rising

When out and about in Connecticut whether it is as a driver, a bicyclist, a pedestrian or in any other capacity, there are inherent dangers that must be considered. One that has become increasingly problematic is encountering a distracted driver. While legislators and law enforcement are seeking ways to reduce the danger of people being in a car accident due to a distracted driver, it still happens with troubling regularity.

AAA's latest information says that this has become the biggest problem on the road. The Traffic Safety Culture Index from AAA says that distracted drivers are more dangerous than drunk drivers, drugged drivers and aggressive drivers. AAA began using this index 10 years ago. It focuses on behaviors and attitudes behind the wheel. A survey showed that 88 percent of drivers who took part think that distracted driving is increasing.

There are many ways to be distracted. Texting and driving, talking on the phone, adjusting a navigation app and eating are just some of them. Another issue is that an overwhelming number of drivers - nine in 10 - function under the belief that they can safely engage in distracting behaviors while others cannot. Forty-nine percent say that they have spoken on cellphones when behind the wheel. Thirty-five percent say they have texted or emailed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that, in Connecticut, the statistics show how risky distracted driving is. In 2015, there were nearly 7,500 accidents because of it. That year, four percent of all fatal accidents and nine percent of accidents with injury had distracted driving as a factor. In 2017, around seven percent of accidents were due to distracted driving. NHTSA also says that around 660,000 drivers are said to be driving while using their cellphones during the daylight hours. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated nine people die and there are more than 1,000 injuries in accidents because of a distracted driver.

The evidence is overwhelming as to how dangerous it is to encounter a distracted driver. People who have been injured or lost a loved one in any accident should know about the frequency of distracted driving and its aftereffects. With medical costs, lost wages, long-term damage and the chance of death, it is key to determine if distracted driving was the major factor as this can be a vital part of a legal filing. A lawyer who is experienced in distracted driving car accidents can help.

Source: ctpost.com, "AAA: Distracted driving now biggest danger on roads," Jim Shay, March 30, 2018

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