April is Distracted Driving month. There’s a chilling reason to bring attention to this dangerous driving practice. In 2013 – the latest statistics available – distracted drivers accounted for 10 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 2,910 fatal truck and car accidents in 2013 that involved distracted driving. At least 3,154 people died in those collisions. All totaled, there were just over 32,719 deaths in roadway wrecks in 2013, so about 10 percent of all motor vehicle deaths were attributed to distracted drivers.
Even more sobering: There were 2,959 distracted drivers in those 2,910 fatal motor vehicle crashes. So in some crashes, more than one of the drivers was acting negligently. The organization cautions that these numbers may be on the low side, due in part that drivers don’t actually tell the truth to investigators as to what they were doing at the time of an accident.
Types of Driver Distractions
The NHTSA lists several different sources of driver distraction, including:
• A vehicle occupant
• Adjusting the radio or climate controls
• Eating or drinking while behind the wheel
• Person or event outside the vehicle
Leading Cause for Fatal Driver Distraction
But by far the number one distraction for drivers in fatal wrecks is cell phone use, which accounted for 14 percent of all such catastrophes in 2013. Broken down by age group, the NHTSA’s research shows that drivers age 20 to 29 years old represented 38 percent of all distracted drivers using cell phones at the time of a fatal accident, by far the leading age group.
State and federal law enforcement officials have vowed to step up their efforts in ticketing individuals they see texting and driving in April. However well intended, this won’t put an end to this irresponsible behavior.
If you had a family member killed or catastrophically injured in a trucking or car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may want to consult an attorney who is experienced in fatal motor vehicle accident cases to pursue your legal options against those responsible.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.