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Distracted driving

Distracted driving can make the roads of Rhode Island less safe. Attempting to accomplish any task that diverts attention away from the road while behind the wheel may be classified as distracted driving. Talking on a cellphone, checking email or reading while driving may increase the likelihood of an accident. When distracted drivers cause dangerous accidents, a settlement in court may be possible.

Government statistics indicate that 421,000 people suffered injuries in distraction-related car accidents in the U.S. in 2012. That marked an increase of nine percent over the previous year. Also in 2012, 3,328 people were killed in vehicle accidents that involved distracted driving. As more and more people begin using handheld electronic devices in their daily lives, distracted driving continues to be a problem.

Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that, at any given time during the day, over half a million drivers in the U.S. are using electronic devices while they are driving. This statistic has held true since 2010. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted research which showed that actions associated with cellphone usage while driving can increase the risk of a vehicle accident by three times.

The problem of distracted driving is especially prevalent among young people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 27 percent of drivers involved in distraction-related fatal accidents were in their 20s.

When a car crash occurs as the result of distracted driving, it may be possible to hold the distracted driver legally responsible. An attorney may be able to use crash reconstruction reports and cellphone records to demonstrate that the distracted driver was liable for the crash.

Source: Distraction.gov, "What is Distracted Driving?", December 23, 2014

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