At any given time, there are a number of things that are calling for our attention. It could be the ringing of a cell phone, the growling of our stomach reminding us to eat, our children telling us about something important, or an approaching work deadline. Often we can deal with these items through multi-tasking, but when we engage in such behavior while behind the wheel of our car, we can put ourselves at risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident.
Traffic Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2011, eighteen percent of all traffic accidents in the country were attributed to drivers who were distracted. Due to the increased use of cell phones and texting, there are many statistics that point to the risk texting or talking on a cell phone while driving creates. For example, a Monash University study revealed that accidents with injuries are 4 times more likely to happen when a driver is using a hand-held cell phone.
In Tennessee, there were 170,722 traffic crashes that occurred in the state during 2011. The 2012 numbers showed a slight decrease of 163,784 collisions; it is unknown from the traffic crash data report how many of those accidents were caused by distraction. This year, the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office reports over 350 people have died on Tennessee roads so far.
Are some drivers not admitting to distraction?
Recently, an Anderson County school bus driver told authorities that a car swerved at her, forcing her to the edge of the road where the bus flipped over, according to WATE. However, the district says that cameras on the bus show the woman was distracted; they did not give further details.
The above story points to a problem with driver distraction and that is the fact that sometimes a driver is afraid to admit that they took their eyes off the road and lost their focus. Therefore, statistics for distracted driving could likely be higher. A new study from NHTSA shows that 600,000 drivers in the U.S. are using electrical devices, including phones, at any given time during the day.
It is important to understand that cell phones are not the only distractions that drivers deal with while behind the wheel. NHTSA also lists these distractions:
- Talking to people in the car
- Looking at maps
- Adjusting dials on the dashboard
- Putting on makeup or doing your hair.
When people allow themselves to be distracted, they can cause an accident that results in serious injuries. By becoming aware of distractions around them, drivers can eliminate those distractions and put their focus on the road in front of them. Any activity can be performed before a person puts their vehicle in gear and pulls out onto the road. Moreover, cell phones can be left turned off until the vehicle is parked at its destination. If you are the victim of a distracted driver, you should discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand what your legal options are.