Distracted driving: by the numbers

As the end of 2014 draws near, we look back at another year that has gone by without significant advancement in the effort to reduce the dangers distracted drivers pose on Joplin streets and Missouri highways. Motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers include cars, tractor-trailers, motorcycles and pedestrians.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting or talking on a cellphone can dramatically increase the risks of causing an accident. In fact, even doing the things to prepare for a call or text – such as reaching for the phone or dialing – increases the risk of a crash by three times.

A nationwide poll found that 49 percent of cellphone-equipped drivers under age 35 said they read or send text messages while they’re behind the wheel. And the problem is not limited to younger drivers: a full 60 percent of all drivers admit to using cellphones while they’re on the road.

While texting, a person’s eyes are off of the road – and away from traffic, other vehicles, pedestrians and everything but their phone – for at least five seconds. At 55 mph, they will blindly travel 300 feet surrounded by metal, glass and plastic. If that heavy mass of materials hits another vehicle, serious injuries can occur in the blink of an eye.

For those injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, a painful journey begins. One that can involve surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, disfigurement and other physical impairments. The journey can also involve lengthy periods away from work and enormous medical bills.

Many accident injury victims pursue compensation from the person responsible for the damages and costs. That pursuit begins with a conversation with an attorney experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and going to trial to protect the rights and interests of their client.



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