Distracted Driving Is the Leading Cause of Automobile Accidents in Okl…
In 2009, more than 36,000 people were injured or killed in car accidents in Oklahoma. While many people think alcohol-related crashes are responsible for the most roadway fatalities, fact is, most automobile accidents are caused by distracted driving. Alcohol was a factor in approximately 10% of injury accidents and fatality accidents in the state, but nationally, distracted driving accounts for approximately 20% of all serious accidents. Extrapolating the statistics to Oklahoma, that method that of the 737 auto accident fatalities in 2009, nearly 150 deaths were caused by distracted driving in Oklahoma.
However, some experts say that the statistics on accidents caused by distracted driving are much greater. According to Mark Edwards, Director of Traffic Safety with the Automobile AA, “The research tells us that somewhere between 25-50 percent of all motor means crashes in this country really have driver distraction as their root cause.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that using a handheld device while driving makes a driver four times more likely to crash, and a University of Utah study finds that using a cell phone, whether handheld or hands free, delays response time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, the legal limit for DUI in Oklahoma.
Distracted driving takes many forms; it is any action which takes a driver’s attention away from the road and safe driving. According to the NHTSA, there are three types of distraction:
· Visual distraction – when you aren’t looking at the road
· Manual distraction – when your hands are occupied with something other than the steering wheel
· Cognitive distraction – when your mind is on other things
Switching radio stations, arguing, eating, putting on makeup, reading a map, looking at a GPS device, talking on a cell phone-these are all shared actions which qualify as distracted driving. One of the deadliest forms of distracted driving is texting while driving. The reason texting and driving is so dangerous is that it combines all three types of distraction-visual, manual, and cognitive. Your eyes and hands are on the mobile device, instead of the road and the wheel, and your mind is on the messages and conversation you are sending. Though commonly thought to be a teenage problem, accidents from texting and driving are found across the age groups. In fact, drivers age 30-39 are the most likely to have an accident while using a cell phone. The NHTSA and myriad traffic safety organizations have launched public service campaigns warning of the dangers of texting and driving, and state legislators push for stronger laws against distracted driving, including texting while driving.
Being injured-or losing a loved one-as a consequence of someone else’s failure to pay due attention while driving takes a serious emotional, physical, and financial toll. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the estimated economic impact of a critically injured accident victim or a roadway fatality is approximately $1 million. An Oklahoma car accident attorney can help victims of car accidents keep up distracted drivers financially accountable for the personal injuries and wrongful deaths they cause with their negligent, careless actions.