Distracted driving may be a much more significant element in the roughly one million car crashes per year involving teenage drivers than was previously believed. An American Automobile Association (AAA) study found that distracted driving is a factor in 58 percent of these collisions. Researchers examined nearly 7,000 video feeds from dash-mounted cameras which provided both a view out the windshield and a look at the driver. Nearly 1,700 videos involved a collision or a near-collision. Talking or messaging on a cellphone and speaking with a passenger were the two most common distractions. Other drivers were distracted by objects in the car, sights outside the car, singing or moving to music, reaching for an object inside the car, and grooming. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety CEO Peter Kissinger claimed that the study provided “indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.” Some time ago, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration pegged the crash contribution figure at 14 percent.
The average users take their eyes off the road for five seconds per text. A car traveling at 55 mph covers approximately 300 feet in that time period. Cell phone use is one of the worst driving habits, because these devices often involve all three forms of distracted driving:
- Mental, which means taking your mind off the road;
- Optical, or taking your eyes off the road; and
- Manual, which is taking at least one hand off the wheel.
Cell phone use is by no means the only issue. In fact, some level of distracted driving is inevitable. Even diligent drivers frequently take a few moments to check their mirrors, adjust the air conditioner, read street signs or speak with passengers. But this inevitability does not mean that drivers are excused from fulfilling their legal duty. If you were hurt in a car crash with a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life. Punitive damages may also be available in many situations. Negligent drivers cause hundreds of thousands of car wrecks. For a free consultation with an aggressive New Braunfels personal injury attorney, contact our office. We serve victims in Comal County and throughout South Central Texas.