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Numbers Add Up The Dangers of Distracted Drivers

An accident that involves drivers talking or texting on their cell phones occurs every 30 seconds in the United States, according to the National Safety Council. That equates to over 1 million total distracted driving accidents in Missouri and the other 49 states each year.

In May 2010, 82 percent of the nation’s adults owned a cell phone. Three years later, as of May 2013, that number jumped to 91 percent, with 56 percent of all adults owning a smartphone. So the potential for an increasing number of distracted drivers who are texting or phoning – and the accidents they cause – looks ominously strong.

Two of Every Three Drivers Take or Make Calls While Behind the Wheel

For a closer look at just how big a problem distracted driving is in this country, here are a few more sobering statistics from a survey of drivers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia released in 2011 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • 10 percent of drivers said they read email or text messages while behind the wheel
  • 6 percent of drivers admitted to sending text messages or email while driving
  • 67 percent, or two out of every three drivers, told survey researchers they make or take phone calls while driving
  • Not surprisingly, younger drivers texted more than older drivers; 44 percent of drivers 18 to 20 years old and 49 percent of drivers 21 to 24 years old, compared to 29 percent of drivers 35 to 44 and 8 percent of those 45 to 64 years old
  • 26 percent of drivers used a smartphone for driving directions

And just how dangerous is distracted driving? One 2009 study showed that drivers in commercial motor vehicles who were texting were 23 times more likely to get in accident – or very nearly get into one – than a driver not texting.

According to NHTSA, distracted drivers are involved in 16 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the country. In 2011 (the most recent data available), 3,331 people were killed in distracted-driver accidents, up from 3,267 the year before. These numbers may actually be low because often times in accidents with distracted drivers there is little definitive evidence left behind that points to the distraction.

All these facts and figures speak to the dangers of distracted driving. Experienced attorneys speak and act on behalf of victims who tragically experience those dangers: those who are seriously hurt and those who have lost loved ones due to careless drivers.