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Preventing Fatal Crashes Caused by Distracted Drivers

Careless Drivers Serious Crashes Injury

With motor vehicle accident deaths on the rise, a new coalition of several different entities and interests recently announced it will focus on one particular cause of fatal car crashes: distracted driving.

The National Safety Council estimates that 42,000 people died in car crashes in 2020, which is 8% higher than 2019. And in August the United States Department of Transportation published a report (“Traffic Safety Facts”) that projects a 10.5% increase in motor vehicle crash deaths in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same timeframe in 2020.

3,000 Distracted Drivers in Fatal Crashes

Earlier this year the federal government released a report that included finalized numbers on distracted driving for 2019. The report showed more than 3,000 distracted drivers were involved in fatal crashes that year. The 2019 federal report also revealed a 36% increase in the number of people killed in large truck accidents between 2010 and 2019.

About 100 organizations announced in mid-September 2021 that they are joining forces in an effort to combat distracted driving.

The National Distracted Driving Coalition brings together a diverse group of organizations, including:

·        Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)

·        Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

·        National Sheriffs’ Association

·        American Trucking Associations

Rise in Missouri Pedestrian Deaths from Motor Vehicle Accidents

One particular group that has suffered a spike in traffic accident deaths is pedestrians.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,205 pedestrians were hit and killed by motor vehicles in 2019.  That’s a 51% increase over the number of pedestrian deaths in 2009.

And according to GHSA’s own updated report on pedestrian deaths released in May (“Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities By State: 2020 Preliminary Data”), the number of pedestrians who died in motor vehicle crashes increased nearly 5% in 2020 over the previous high-water mark in 2019.

The percentage increase of Missouri pedestrians killed between 2019 and 2020 was higher.  GHSA estimated there were 124 pedestrians killed in Missouri in 2020, a 12% increase over Missouri’s 111 pedestrian deaths in 2019.

Could the spike in pedestrian deaths in Missouri and across the country be linked to an increase in distracted drivers? No direct cause-and-effect relationship has been established so far, but it certainly seems plausible.

Pedestrians share the same road as drivers when those roadways lack sidewalks or shoulders.  A car driven by a driver distracted by texting or otherwise using a cell phone does not have to swerve very far, under those conditions, to strike a pedestrian. NHTSA in May reported that 9% of the pedestrian deaths in 2019 (most recent year with final data) occurred in areas such as:

·        Roadsides/shoulders

·        Bicycle lanes

·        Shared-use paths/trails

When people are killed in crashes caused by a negligent act, such as distracted driving, their families have a legal right to pursue just compensation.  If you had a loved one die in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver, speak with a car accident lawyer about your legal rights.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog October 6, 2021