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Study Finds Distracted Driving Increases Severity of Car Accidents

New California Distracted Driving Law Will Penalize Drivers Texting or Holding a Phone

A new study says car accidents that are caused by distracted driving tend to be more severe than others and that their severity also depends on the type of setting in which they occur. According to a news report in The Washington Post, a study by researchers at the Risk Institute at Ohio State University found that distracted driving raises the odds that a crash will cause severe injury or death compared with other crashes, especially if those distraction-related crashes involve rear-end collisions or occur in work zones or on interstate highways.

By contrast, roundabouts or rotaries appear to lower the risk of crashes and diminish the severity of distraction-related crashes, perhaps because those roadway configurations force drivers to pay attention. Researchers say more targeted law enforcement and attention to design might also help combat distracted driving.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

The study also comes a day after a suspected distracted driver struck a group of bicyclists in Florida, killing a 53-year-old woman and injuring six others, one critically. The driver, a 33-year-old woman was allegedly distracted by something in her car and the sun’s glare. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says about 9 percent of all deadly crashes in 2016 were the result of distracted driving.

The study at Ohio State analyzed 1.4 million police records obtained from the Ohio Department of Transportation for crashes that occurred between 2013 and 2017. During that period, the number of distracted driving crashes in Ohio went up just as the number increased nationwide.

The analysis also found that in-vehicle distractions accounted for 48 percent of the crashes. It also found that younger drivers, especially those between 20 and 24 years of age, account for the highest percentage of crashes, both as a result of distracted driving and other causes.

Preventing Distracted Driving

The best way to prevent distracted driving is to avoid all types of distractions while driving. Distractions include not only electronic devices such as cell phones, but also other activities such as eating, drinking, grooming, applying makeup or fiddling with the GPS or radio while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.

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