Distracted Driving: An Epidemic Threat on U.S. Roads and Highways

In 2015, 38,300 people were killed on U.S. in car crashes, while 4.4 million were seriously injured, making this year the deadliest driving year for Americans since 2008. Though the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) blame the dramatic increase of fatal car crashes to the price of gas going down (as this resulted to many more cars on the road), still, the major cause of these accidents is driver error or bad road behavior.

The NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify impaired driving (impairment may be due to alcohol and use of illegal or prescription drugs), driving beyond the set speed limit or driving fast despite poor road conditions, aggressive driving, reckless driving, and distracted driving with cell phone use as the number one cause of distraction.

Distracted driving, specifically, is any form of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. This bad road behavior takes many forms, including, but definitely not limited to, eating and/or drinking, cell phone use and texting while driving, smoking, and adjusting the radio. Since the introduction of cell phones and now, the expansion of smartphone functions and wider use of social media platforms, driving distractions due to cell phone use have not only increased but have also become more dangerous. Rather than just texting, making a call or answering one, many drivers, teenagers, mostly also send emails, snap selfies, conduct video chats, shoot videos, and use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat; some even watch YouTube videos while driving, thinking that they can drive and do anything else in total safety (Snapchat, an apps that has a speed filter, allows a driver to take a selfie and send it to anyone hi/she likes all while driving at fast speed. The recipient of the photo has only about 10 seconds to view the shot before it completely disappears).

Distracted driving is an epidemic threat on U.S. roads and highways, and cell phone use is its number one form. In 2013 alone, of the 5.69 million auto crashes in the U.S., 1.2 million were due to talking on the phone, while another 341,000 were due to texting while behind the wheel.

Brownsville personal injury attorneys of The Benton Law Firm know well enough how an accident can leave an innocent victim in trauma, and in degraded financial, emotional, and physical states. Personal injuries resulting from the misconduct of someone else, whether the harm was intentionally inflicted or not, will always have a considerable impact on victims’ lives, making them face a variety of setbacks, including painful recovery periods, expensive treatments, lost time at work, and emotional distress. Thus, financial compensation, though it cannot undo the injury or its lasting effects, can take a considerable burden off the victim and ensure that the party responsible for the injury is held legally and financially responsible.

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