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Statistics say distracted driving is a factor in car accidents

It seems harmless -- a quick telephone call, a glance to look for a new text message, changing the radio station on the go -- but experts say all of these activities and many others contribute to America's proliferation of car accidents. Many people may disagree, saying that a seasoned and experienced driver knows how to multi-task behind the wheel, but what do the statistics say?

According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. government's official website about distracted driving, any distraction while operating a motor vehicle endangers drivers, passengers, pedestrians and even by-standers. The website's fact sheet for distracted driving provides a number of disturbing statistics about this problem, including:

-- In 2012, it is estimated that 421,000 people received injuries in automobile crashes involving distracted drivers; a nine percent increase from injuries in 2011.

-- Ten percent of drivers younger than 20-years-old who were involved in fatal car accidents were reportedly distracted at the time of the car crash.

-- Drivers younger than 20-years-old represent the largest volume of distracted driving.

-- Visual-manual tasks like texting, dialing and reaching involving the use of handheld devices increases the risk of an accident by three.

-- Estimates say it takes an average of five seconds to look away from the road while texting, which is reportedly enough time to drive lengthwise across a football field blindfolded.

-- Ten percent of parents and 20 percent of teens admit to engaging in lengthy, multi-message, text-based conversations while operating a motor vehicle.

Police in North Carolina apparently agree with these figures, saying that distracted driving is a huge problem in our state. Officers in New Hanover County cite not just texting but configuring GPS units or using smartphones to listen to music as contributing factors as well. Unfortunately, the result of any kind of car accident-causing distraction can be heartbreaking for families who often feel compelled to seek counsel from a car accident attorney to find a little closure.

Source:  Distraction.gov, "What is Distracted Driving?" Jul. 28, 2014

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