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How significant is the problem of distracted driving?

We have all likely heard a substantial amount about distracted driving and texting while driving these days. In listening to this national conversation, you may wonder how significant the problem is. The reality is that distracted driving is a serious concern which leads to car accident injuries and deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving-related car accidents causes 9 deaths and 1,153 injuries each day. During 2012, 3,328 victims were killed in distracted driver-related car accidents. In 2011, 3,360 victims were killed in distracted-driver related car accidents. During 2012, 421,000 people were injured in distracted-driver related car accidents while in 2011, 387,000 victims were injured in distracted-driving related car accidents.

The definition of distracted driving falls into three main categories. The categories of distraction include visual distraction, such as removing your eyes from the road; manual distraction, such as removing your hands from the steering wheel of the vehicle; and cognitive distraction which includes any activity that diverts your mind and attention from driving. Distracted driving increases the likelihood of a car accident.

Of particularly serious concern is texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction.

In Florida, there is a complete ban on texting while driving. While texting and driving is a particularly serious concern, there are a variety of activities that fall under the definition of distracted driving. Distracted driving can include, among other things, cell-phone use, eating and drinking or operating electronic devices in the car such as GPS units.

Victims of car accidents, including car accidents caused by distracted driving, may suffer unexpected physical, financial and emotional injuries. Drivers who fail to exercise appropriate care for the safety of others, and operate a vehicle while distracted, may be responsible for the harm victims, and victim’s families, suffer.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Distracted Driving,” Accessed Dec. 3, 2014

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