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Distracted driving and emotions play a role in car accidents

While the crash fatality rate in the United States and Louisiana has declined over the past several decades, the rate has not kept pace with other developed countries when it comes to traffic safety. One reason for this is distracted driving. Every day, we hear about how dangerous it is to drive while distracted. Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore these warnings and cause countless car accidents in the process.

Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted a study to determine how important it actually is to stay focused on the road while driving. Figuring out the cause of a car accident can be difficult as it is hard to know what a driver was doing right before the accident occurred.

The study involved 3,500 volunteer drivers in the United States between the ages of 16 and 98. Researchers equipped their vehicles with cameras and other devices to monitor speed and location. After monitoring the drivers behind the wheel for over three years, they evaluated the video footage.

The results indicate that out of the 905 accidents that caused injuries, property damage or both, close to 75 percent of the accidents involved driver error. Nearly 68 percent involved distracted driving. A driver who takes his eyes off the road for an extended period of time is most likely to cause a crash. Reaching for a cell phone or other objects, using touchscreen menus on the dashboard, reading and writing proved to be some of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.

Source: U.S. News Health, "Study Shows Just How Big a Role Cellphones Play in Car Crashes," Feb. 22, 2016

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