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The dangers of distracted driving

Tennessee readers may be familiar with the dangers associated with distracted driving, which is understood by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include any activity done while driving that takes one's attention away from the road. The public health agency reported that more than 9 people are killed in accidents related to distracted driving every day in the United States.

Distracted driving can be either visual, manual or cognitive. While taking one's eyes or hands off the road or wheel can certainly be dangerous, cognitive distraction may be even more insidious because most people aren't aware they're distracted when it happens.

Studies have shown that younger drivers under the age of 20 tend to be most at risk for causing such distracted driving-related accidents; according to a 2011 CDC report, nearly half of high school students admitted to texting while driving, an activity that involves all three forms of distraction.

The problem has become large enough to spur action by the federal and state governments. For instance, the Federal Railroad Administration and Motor Carrier Safety Administration have both banned the use of cellphone texting while employees are on the job. In addition, multiple states have enacted laws seeking to mitigate the occurrence of cellphone-related accidents by raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

If someone causes serious injury to another driver while driving distractedly, they may be held accountable for all of the victim's medical expenses and any additional damages related to their pain and suffering should the victim pursue a claim against them. Since some drivers attempt to dispute the extent of their liability or hide it entirely, the victim of such an accident may benefit from enlisting an attorney to advocate their case. The attorney may be able to present evidence against the opposing party and expedite the transfer of any compensation that is ultimately awarded.

Source: CDC, "Distracted Driving", January 02, 2015

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