Distracted driving involved in nearly 10 percent of crashes

We've all heard about the dangers of distracted driving, and how talking on the cell phone in the car can make it harder to concentrate on the road. Of course, many people still use their handheld phones in the car; the convenience is hard to resist. But a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released new information that concretely describes the dangers of distracted driving.

According to the report, distracted driving played a role in nearly 10 percent of all fatal car and truck accidents in 2010. Among crashes that resulted in injuries, the number jumps to 18 percent. The report listed cell phone use as a top cause for distracted driving. Of course, speaking on a handheld phone while driving is perfectly legal for most drivers in Tennessee, but motorists should remember that texting while driving is prohibited.

Accidents caused by distracted driving are somewhat less likely among large truck drivers, accounting for only five percent of crashes. This could be because truck drivers are more likely to use a hands-free device when they are on the road, as federal law prohibits all interstate truck drivers from using handheld devices.

While cell phone use was largest single distraction mentioned in the report, the NHTSA also mentioned daydreaming, animals near the roadway, and other cell phone related tasks as other possible dangers. Getting distracted by another car crash is particularly dangerous: as traffic funnels past an accident, drivers group closer together, reducing reaction times and increasing the risk of another accident.

Whenever someone gets behind the wheel, they have a responsibility to the other drivers on the road. Tennessee motorists must maintain the focus that driving requires and take care not to drive outside of their abilities. Distracted driving can factor in to a court case following an accident, especially if the accident was caused by texting or by a truck driver talking on the phone. Drivers looking to prevent the frequent accidents caused by distracted driving should consider using a hands-free device when they're on the road.

Source: Truckinginfo.com, "NHTSA: Nearly 10% of Fatal Crashes Involved Distracted Driving," Sept. 25, 2012

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