The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 37,133 people were killed in car accidents across the country in 2017. Despite the slight decline in fatal accidents – there were 1.8 percent fewer deaths than in 2016 – experts are still concerned about our dangerous roads. In fact, many believe that the number of fatal car accidents will rise again in the coming years. Why? Drivers are more distracted than ever before.
Distracted Driving A Leading Cause of Car Accidents
Technology can be a great asset. However, our growing dependence on technology is also a reason for concern. As a society, we’ve grown increasingly attached to our mobile devices. We have the world at our fingertips and it can be hard to disconnect. This is particularly troubling when drivers get behind the wheel. Rather than focusing all attention on the road, many are still honed in on their cell phones and tablets. Drivers are checking emails, texting, and scrolling through social media apps while navigating a dangerous vehicle on public roads. The result? More injury-causing and fatal car accidents attributed to distracted driving habits.
Why is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
Distracted driving has been described as the “new drunk driving.” Why? When you drive drunk you are much more likely to be involved in an accident. Recent studies have found that distracted driving practices also significantly increase the likelihood of an accident. According to one source, drivers are 1.3 times more likely to be in an accident if they talk on the phone while driving. This includes hands-free devices. The risk of an accident increases slightly – you’ll be 2.4 times more likely to be in a crash – when you try to dial a phone. Unfortunately, the most dangerous behavior is the one drivers seem to engage in most. You are 23 times more likely to be in an accident when you text and drive.
How Many Car Accidents Are Caused By Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving has really developed into a major problem in the United States over the past few years. Many organizations and agencies have begun to review accident statistics in an effort to identify how frequently distracted driving contributes to car accidents. While results have been mixed, there has been one common conclusion. Distracted driving is a leading and growing cause of fatal and injury-causing accidents in the United States.
Here are some distracted driving accident statistics:
- According to the CDC, 9 people are killed and another 1,000 are injured every day because of distracted driving practices.
- Distracted driving is responsible for anywhere between 10 percent and 25 percent of all car accident deaths.
- 58 percent of teen driving accidents involve distracted driving behaviors.
How Many Drivers Are Using Cell Phones Behind the Wheel?
According to a AAA study, two-thirds of all drivers say that it is “unacceptable” to talk on a cell phone while driving. At the same time, however, one-third of all drivers voluntarily admit to “doing it fairly often or regularly.” The number of drivers using a phone is actually probably much higher. One study, which reviewed cell phone activity in moving cars by using an app, found that “92 percent of drivers nationwide with cell phones” used them “while in a moving car” in a 30 day period.
State Laws Crack Down on Distracted Driving Practices
Many states are responding to the increase in distracted driving accidents by taking legislative action. Today, 47 states currently have laws on the books that prohibit or limit distracted driving behaviors. This includes Florida, which has been named the “second-worst” state for distracted driving.
In 2016, there were approximately 5 distracted driving car accidents in Florida every hour. That’s more than 50,000 accidents in a single year. Those accidents caused 233 deaths and thousands of serious injuries. The majority of these accidents, deaths, and injuries were likely preventable. Florida’s distracted driving laws aim to “improve roadway safety” and prevent Florida car accidents “related to the act of text messaging.”
Under the state law, it is illegal to text and drive. Specifically, it is unlawful to drive while “manually typing” or “sending or reading data” on a mobile device. However, texting and driving is a secondary offense. As a result, you can’t get pulled over for texting and driving. Officers have to witness another traffic violation in order to stop your car. First violations are punishable by a fine of $30. Subsequent offenses carry harsher consequences.
The purpose of distracted driving laws is to reduce the number of fatal car accidents across the country. Distracted driving claims thousands of lives every year. Unfortunately, many of these deaths could have likely been avoided if drivers had simply put down the phone and concentrated on the road.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a negligent distracted driver you may be entitled to compensation. It’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney so that you can better understand your rights and options. Your attorney will help you fight to hold the distracted driver responsible and demand the money you deserve. Contact laventlaw.com for more help.