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The problem of distracted driving in Rhode Island

Many people have probably heard about the dangers of texting and driving, yet the incidence of accidents caused by people who are doing just that is increasing. Across the United States, an average of nine people die every year and 1,153 people are seriously injured in accidents caused by drivers who are distracted by cellphones, electronic devices or eating, and the numbers show no signs of decreasing.

The reasons why distracted driving can be so dangerous is that people who are distracted by something other than the road may require a diversion of manual activities, visual activities and cognitive tasks. Texting and driving involves all three types of distraction, making it extremely dangerous.

In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted drivers. During that year, an additional 421,000 people were injured. The number of injuries increased by 9 percent over the preceding year. Despite the known hazards and the fact that in many states it is illegal, people persist in using their cellphones while driving. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 reported recent cellphone use while driving. Nearly one-third additionally reported reading or sending texts while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to their study participation.

When a person is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver, the driver may be held to be responsible to pay damages to the injured victim through a personal injury lawsuit. Damages may be recoverable for things such as resulting medical expenses, needed rehabilitation costs, lost current and future income as well as pain and suffering.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving", accessed on Feb. 14, 2015

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