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Understanding the serious nature of distracted driving

We have all heard about the dangers of distracted driving and texting and driving in the news or in everyday conversations. Distracted driving is a serious concern in the United States today and texting while driving is a significant contributor to distracted driving. According to research, texting and driving creates a 23 time greater risk of a crash than driving while not distracted.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers were the cause of 18 percent of fatal crashes in 2012. The total number of victims killed was 3,328. An additional 421,000 victims were injured in distracted-driving related car crashes. In California, texting while driving is banned for all drivers and the ban is considered a primary law in California which means that drivers can be pulled over for texting and driving even if no other traffic violations are noted.

Distracted driving is considered performing any activity while driving that can divert the driver's attention. Texting is considered a type of driver distraction and combines the different types of distracted driving, including visual, physical and cognitive distraction. Because texting and driving combines the three different types of distraction, it is considered a particularly serious form of distracted driving.

Distracted driving can be dangerous and lead to serious car accidents. Distracted drivers who cause car accidents may be liable for the harm they cause which can include property damages, injuries and sometimes the loss of life. Victims of distracted driving may suffer a variety of damages based on the circumstances of the particular car accident. It is important that victims fully understand the options that may be available to them to help with the physical, financial and emotional recovery that may accompany a distracted driving car accident.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, "The Dangers of Texting While Driving," accessed on Jan. 27, 2015

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