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Epidemic of distracted driving

We have shared numerous stories about the danger of distracted driving. In the last decade in Michigan, 9,000 accidents involved distracted driving due to the use of a cellular phone. In addition, another 34,000 accidents were attributed to other sources of distraction. The MLive news source has collected these statistics as part of an ongoing series about the dangers of distracted driving.

Younger drivers appear to be the single largest group of drivers that pose a risk due to cellular phone use. Drivers aged 18 were the largest sector of offenders, while the age group from age 16 to 19 years old accounted for about 20 percent of accidents caused by cellular phone use. But cellular phone related accidents are obviously not confined to teen drivers. There was a report of a 93-year-old driver in Detroit who crashed into another car while talking on his phone.

While the statistics as presented are troubling, many people think that the true numbers are actually much higher. While serious and fatal accidents generally trigger an investigation that includes a warrant for cellular phone records to determine if the driver was on the phone, in less serious accidents a driver may not be likely to freely admit that they were on the phone and the investigation may not be sufficiently comprehensive to uncover cellular phone use. In other cases police reports may not be updated if phone use is not discovered until later.

Michigan and many other states have implemented legislation to curb texting. But clearly the message has not gotten through to everyone.

Source: MLive.com, "Distracted drivers and cellphones are a dangerous mix, wreaking havoc on the roads," John Barnes, Feb. 2, 2012

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