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Distracted driver behaviors continue despite laws and warnings

Connecticut residents regularly see people who are behind the wheel of their motor vehicle who are looking down or clearly playing on their cellphone. Researchers are concerned about this because of the propensity for distracted drivers to have auto accidents with injuries and fatalities. One new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) examined these behaviors and revealed that drivers are largely ignoring laws and warnings against the practice.

IIHS states that people who were using their cellphones behind the wheel and manipulating them was a contributory factor for more than 800 fatalities in the U.S. during 2017. That number is believed to be a fraction of the total number. IIHS conducted a roadside survey in Virginia, where it found that drivers had a 57 percent greater likelihood of using their devices behind the wheel than they did in 2014. Over 3 percent were seen doing so in 2018, which is an increase from 2.3 percent four years before.

Adding to the confusion is that drivers were less frequently spotted holding the device or talking into it as they were in 2014. Almost 4 percent of the drivers they observed were talking into the device. That was 4.1 percent four years earlier, and 2.8 percent were holding the device in 2018. In 2014 that was 4.9 percent. Distracted driver behaviors statistically increase the chance of being in a fatal accident by as much as 66 percent, if the person is manipulating the device.

In their study, IIHS set up observation areas in 12 locations in Virginia. They watched around 12,000 vehicles in 2018. In 2014, that number was around 14,000. They did this at various times of the day and during the week. Distracted driving fatalities are believed to have settled in at around 8 to 10 percent of the causes in all accident fatalities. Unfortunately, as this research shows, the behaviors are continuing without a significant change.

Considering the medical expenses, lost wages, loss of a loved ones and other problems that can accompany distracted driving car accidents, having legal help to examine the crash, gather evidence and move forward with a legal filing requires help from a qualified attorney. Those impacted by a distracted driver auto accident should call for advice in how to file a claim.

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