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Understanding the Risks of Distracted Driving

accident in car . man and woman using cellphone while driving car

Texting while driving is incredibly common. Everyone seems to understand that texting while driving is dangerous, and yet many people do it anyway. According to a poll conducted by AAA, for example, while as many as 94% of teenage drivers acknowledged the dangers of texting while driving, over a third (35%) of respondents to the poll admitted to doing it anyway. Likewise, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 39% of high school students who drove admitted to texting while driving in the previous 30 days. And that’s just the respondents who admitted to it. Distracted driving is rapidly overtaking drunk driving as the biggest danger on the road. Continue reading for a discussion of the dangers posed by distracted driving, and call an experienced New York car accident attorney if you or a family member has been injured by a distracted driver in the Hudson Valley.

Thousands of People Are Killed by Distracted Drivers Every Year

Distracted driving is a massive problem in New York and countrywide. Texting while driving, in particular, is especially dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, as much as 25% of all accidents are caused by texting while driving. As many as 1.6 million car accidents occur every year across the country as a result of cell phone use while driving. Nearly 390,000 people are hurt in distracted driving accidents each year, and over 3,100 are killed annually by distracted drivers. Young drivers are especially at risk; 9% of all teen motor vehicle accident deaths are connected to distracted driving.

Texting and Distracted Driving

The most common form of dangerous distracted driving these days involves cell phone use while driving. Texting, direct-messaging, posting on social media, and otherwise exchanging messages while driving puts everyone on the road at risk, including the driver, their passengers, other motorists, and other folks on the road. Texting while driving triggers all three types of driver distraction as explained by the CDC.

According to the CDC, there are three types of driver distraction: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction occurs when the driver is looking at something other than the road. Manual distraction occurs when the driver’s hands are on something other than the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions occur whenever the driver’s attention is forced off of the task of driving and on to something else. Each carries its own risk, and activities that cause more than one type of distraction are especially dangerous.

Smartphone use generally triggers multiple types of driver distraction. Talking on a device without using the hands-free mode, for example, causes both cognitive distraction (focusing on the conversation instead of the road) and manual distraction (by forcing the driver to hold the phone instead of the wheel). Texting while driving is especially dangerous because the driver’s hands, eyes, and attention are all taken from the road.

Safety experts estimate that it takes around five seconds to read and respond to a text message on average. During that time, the driver’s eyes, hands, and attention are completely off the road. At 55 mph, that means the driver traveled essentially the length of a football field without seeing anything on the road in front of them; it’s like driving with a blindfold on. The dangers are clear.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a distracted driving crash in New York, find out if you have a right to compensation for your injuries by contacting the passionate and thorough Hudson Valley personal injury lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a free consultation at 845-331-4100 (Kingston) or 845-236-4411 (Marlboro).

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