Common Distracted Driving Accidents Lead To Fatalities

On behalf of Pat Crispi at Keogh Crispi PC

While the dangers of distracted have been well-publicized, it seems that the message is not sinking in for many. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration newsletter revealed that at any given moment about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or hand-held electronic devices on U.S. roads. In an effort to call attention to the continuing public safety threat of distracted driving, public safety officials have declared April National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In conjunction with the public safety campaign, an insurance company has analyzed national motor vehicle accident fatality statistics and discovered the most common types of distracted driving accidents.

Dangers of distracted driving

Research supports the claim that distracted driving is dangerous. According to the analysis that Erie Insurance conducted of data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a national databank of information about fatal auto accidents the NHTSA maintains, more than 65,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011. Of the accidents that caused those deaths, one in 10 resulted from at least one of the drivers being distracted. NHTSA statistics show that 3,331 people died in distracted driving accidents in 2011 and another 375,000 were injured.

Researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have shown that those who send text messages are 23 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than drivers who do not. VTTI researchers report that the average text message takes 4.6 seconds to send. A car travelling 55 m.p.h. travels the length of a football field during the time it takes to send a text message - without the driver looking at the road.

Common types of distracted driving accidents

Erie Insurance analysis of FARS data regarding the causes of distracted driving accidents revealed that 62 percent of drivers reported "daydreaming" or being "lost in thought" as the reason for the accident. The second most common cause of distracted driving accidents was cell phone use - talking, texting or emailing - with 12 percent of drivers admitting this to be the cause of accidents. The third most reported cause of distracted driving accidents, at 7 percent, was an event outside the vehicle, such as looking at another auto accident. Five percent of drivers cited talking with a passenger in the vehicle as the reason for the accident, making it the fourth most common cause of distracted driving accidents. Two percent of drivers said that using or grabbing devices they had brought into their vehicles was the reason for their crashes, which was the fifth most common cause of distracted driving accidents.

Other driver distractions leading to accidents that researchers found included eating or drinking, smoking, adjusting vehicle controls, and objects moving inside the vehicles such as pets or insects.

Speak with an attorney

Despite the month-long public safety campaign warning people of the dangers of distracted driving, distracted drivers are still a very real danger on the roads. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver's negligence, talk to an experienced car accident attorney who can help you recover just and proper compensation.