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New AAA survey shows prevalence of distracted driver incidents

It is not difficult to look at a vehicle and find a driver who is texting and driving, using social media or looking down at a device. Research examines this phenomenon and uses the results of studies to try to find methods to reduce the number of people who are behaving as a distracted driver. This information can also be useful for those who were injured or who have lost a loved one in an auto accident, as evidence of distracted driving can help with a legal filing for compensation.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducts an annual study referred to as the Traffic Safety Culture Index. It found that, since 2013, there has been a rise of 46 percent of drivers who admit to talking on the phone when driving and do so on a regular basis. 88 percent stated that they think that there has been an increase in distracted driving and it is the biggest danger on the road today. In this study, more than 2,600 drivers age 16 and older who drove in the previous 30 days took part.

Close to half of those surveyed said they spoke on a handheld device. Almost 45 percent stated they read a text or email while driving. Nearly 35 percent admitted to sending an email or text. Along with those admissions, 58 percent said that speaking on the phone while driving is a dangerous act. 78 percent said they felt that texting and driving is dangerous. Just above 40 percent stated they wanted cellphone use banned while driving. Prior studies have indicated that the danger of being in a crash increases fourfold when a driver is speaking on a cellphone. People texting multiplies the chance of a crash by eight times.

This information contradicts estimates from the federal government saying that distracted driving instances had been reduced by 2 percent from the prior year. It must be noted that it is often difficult to know whether a driver was distracted at the time of an accident, so the numbers are likely underreported. Regardless of the statistics, distracted driving places people at risk of injury and death. This can lead to financial costs due to hospitalization, medical care and lost time at work. For those who have lost a loved one in an auto accident, it is even worse. Having legal assistance to consider filing a case is imperative and a lawyer who is experienced in investigating distracted driving car accidents may be able to help.

Source: forbes.com, "In 'Do As I Say, Not As I Do' Culture, Distracted Driving Spikes," Tanya Mohn, March 29, 2018

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