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New research highlights the dangers of distracted drivers


For several years now, drivers have been hearing about the dangers of using smart phones or other electronic devices while driving. The danger is now common knowledge, although far too many drivers continue to send and receive text messages, or engage in other distractions, while they should have their eyes on the road ahead of them.

Recent research shows that drivers who are distracted are more dangerous than many people may believe. A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that drivers who are distracted are twice as likely as undistracted drivers to be in an auto accident.

The Virginia Tech researchers who conducted the study used cameras, sensors and radar to study 3,500 drivers over three years. They found 1,600 accidents occurred, of which 905 were considered high severity. With this study, they were able to find what factors were keys in the incidents.

Distractions went beyond using cellphones. They included drivers reading or writing; reaching for things; using GPS or electronic devices; driving while in an emotional state; driving while fatigued; and interacting with others in the vehicle. According to their comparisons, 68 percent of the crashes that were deemed severe involved distractions. If the distraction takes the driver's attention away from the road for a longer period, the more dangerous it is.

This information is not only important for those who might partake in certain behaviors while driving that they believe to be innocuous and irrelevant to their ability to operate their vehicles safely, but it is also important to those who suffer catastrophic injuries in an auto accident as they seek compensation. Knowing the signs of a distracted driver can help in a legal case. With any car crash, it is of course of paramount importance to discuss the matter with a legal professional as soon as possible to begin the process of a lawsuit.

Source: Huffington Post, "Distracted Drivers Are Even More Dangerous Than You Thought," Carolyn Grengoire, Feb. 24, 2016

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