Many accidents caused by distracted driving

A car accident is a traumatic experience that often has long-term effects, especially if the accident results in substantial injuries. AnnArbor.com reports that a recent three-vehicle accident in Lodi Township was so serious that one victim was forcibly extracted from a vehicle.

Although the cause of this particular accident is unknown, distracted driving is a common cause of many car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as "any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving."

Additionally, distracted driving incidents continue to increase. According to the NHTSA, in 2011, 3,331 individuals were killed in accidents involving drivers who were distracted, an increase from 2010. In the same year, distracted driving also resulted in injuries to 387,000 individuals.

Although using cellphones and text messaging are two main activities related to distracted driving, there are also a number of other actions that contribute to the problem, including:

  • Talking to a passenger
  • Using a navigation system
  • Adjusting a radio station
  • Eating and drinking

Among the variety of distractions, however, text messaging is one of the most dangerous because it combines visual, physical and cognitive distractions that impair a person's ability to safely operate a vehicle. According to the NHTSA, over 196 billion text messages were received or sent in June 2011. This was a nearly 50 percent increase since June 2009.

Drivers may consider text messaging harmless; yet, a driver's eyes are taken off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds when sending or receiving a text message. This is estimated to be the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field at 55 miles per hour while blindfolded.

Younger drivers are especially prone to distracted driving. The age group with the largest proportion of distracted drivers is under the age of 20. Additionally, research reported by the NHTSA shows that 11 percent of drivers in this age group who were involved in a fatal accident were reportedly distracted at the time of the accident.

Injuries from a car accident caused by a distracted driver can result in hefty medical bills, lost wages, and extreme pain and suffering. An individual who is injured by a distracted driver could benefit by speaking with a personal injury attorney who is familiar with car accidents. A skilled attorney can protect important rights and aggressively represent an injured person to obtain any available compensation.