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Study shows risk of car crash doubles in distracted driving

A study released this week by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers more than double their risk of being involved in a car or truck accident when they engage in distracted driving, such as cell phone use, reading or writing, or using touchscreen menus in the vehicle. In the higher severity crashes involving injury or property damage that were part of the study, researchers found that factors including fatigue, error, impairment and distraction were present in nearly 90% of crashes. Researchers also found that emotions play an important part in crash risk, with drivers increasing their crash risk nearly 10 times when they are visibly angry, sad, crying or emotionally agitated.

Distractions, such as cell phones and the use of other mobile devices that take a driver’s attention off the road, can lead to a much higher risk of a crash. Drivers engaging in distracted behavior not only put themselves at risk, but also other passengers in the vehicle and others on the road, including pedestrians.

Dangerous types of distracted driving

  • Texting
  • Cell phone use
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking with passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps and directions
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio or CD player

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), engaging in visual-manual tasks while driving, such as reaching for a phone, dialing, and texting, increases the risk of getting into a car crash by three times. Studies show that in the five seconds your eyes are off the road when traveling 55mph and texting, your vehicle can cover a space as long as the entire length of a football field. Imagine the dangers for other vehicles and pedestrians in your path when your eyes are off the road for a mere 5 seconds.

In the 2014 report, Distraction by Cell Phones and Texting, the NHTSA stated that distracted driving is a problem on American roadways every day with drivers swerving, missing traffic lights and other signs and narrowly missing pedestrians because they have their eyes and minds on their phones instead of the road. According to the cellular telecommunications industry trade group, CTIA-the Wireless Association, there are 320 million cell phone subscriptions in the U.S. The average number of monthly text messages sent or received in the U.S. is more than 84 billion. Although people have used cell phones while driving for quite a while, the real risks associated with that type of dangerous behavior is receiving more attention as more distracted driving-related car and truck accidents result in serious injuries and fatalities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when surveyed, 33% of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64 reported reading or writing text messages or emails while driving in the previous month. 69% of that age group admitted to talking on their cell phones while driving. These numbers are staggering considering the crashes resulting in serious injuries and loss of life in this country every day. Statistics from the CDC say a distraction kills 9 people and injures hundreds of others on a daily basis.

5 Tips for Prevention

  • Eliminate cell phone use and the use of all other electronic and mobile devices when driving, including talking and texting. If you must use your cell phone in an emergency, pull off the road into a safe spot to do so.
  • Limit the number of passengers in your vehicle to reduce the distractions.
  • Do not attempt to read or write while driving.
  • Do not program a navigation system or adjust your radio or other devices while driving. Make adjustments before beginning your trip.
  • Avoid eating and drinking when driving. If you need to go through a drive-thru, park and eat before you get back on the road.

Even a moment’s distraction while driving can mean devastating and fatal results for others sharing the road. Our team of Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton auto accident attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli see the heartbreaking destruction caused by negligent distracted drivers every day. We represent those injured in distracted driving-related and other car and truck crashes in the Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre areas and throughout the state of Pennsylvania. We fight every day to ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, call the Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton car accident lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free consultation. Call 215-575-9237 for our Philadelphia office or 570-714-HURT for our Wilkes-Barre office.


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With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.





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