Study finds distracted drivers often text while driving

When you get behind the wheel, how often do you attempt to multitask while you travel to your destination? Do you ever use your cellphone when you should be focusing on the road?

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, motorists are often distracted while operating a vehicle. The researchers studied 7,800 motorists' behaviors while they were behind the wheel.

Of those, the researchers found that 8 percent used some type of electronic device - including a cellphone - while they were driving. In addition, of the motorists who drove while distracted, 45 percent were texting while they were driving. The researchers noted that the percentage of distracted drivers was higher than they had expected to find.

Texting is considered a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving, as it has been found to increase the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident by 23 times. Despite the risks associated with texting and driving, however, many motorists continue to engage in such behavior. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10 percent of adults and 20 percent of teenagers have reported that they send multiple text messages while on the road.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officers have noted that texting bans can be difficult to enforce. Police officers across the country have reported that issuing a citation for violating a texting ban is challenging, as many motorists will deny they were engaging in such behavior. In states where handheld cellphone use is allowed, but texting is not, some drivers will claim they were placing a call rather than sending a text message when facing a citation.

Avoid serious distracted driving collisions in Tennessee

In Tennessee, all motorists are prohibited from sending or reading text messages while they are driving. In addition, bus drivers and novice drivers are not allowed to use a cellphone of any type - including those with hands-free capabilities - while they are on the road.

These laws are meant to reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities that occur annually. The NHTSA has reported that over 3,330 people were killed in such collisions in 2011. In addition, approximately 387,000 people sustained personal injuries due to a distracted driving accident that year. In fact, 10 percent of all personal injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents in 2011 were caused by a distracted driver.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, consult with a qualified personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected.