Distracted driving has become one of the most common causes of car accidents in North Carolina and other states throughout the nation. That’s why road safety officials recently designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“We are optimistic that by working with teens and adults we can change the way we all look at distracted driving and make it socially unacceptable,” states the website for End Distracted Driving, a non-profit organization focused on educating the public about the dangers of distracted driving.,
How common is distracted driving?
Distracted driving-related accidents happen at an alarming rate. An estimated 7 percent of all fatal car accidents nationwide involve some form of distracted driving, according to End Distracted Driving based on accident statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s an estimated 3,142 deaths each year due to distracted drivers.
Here are some other startling statistics about distracted driving, courtesy of End Distracted Driving:
An estimated 400,000 people each year are injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers.
1 in 5 people killed by distracted drivers were pedestrians or cyclists.
58 percent of car accidents caused by teen drivers occur due to distracted driving.
Examples of distracted driving
As the name suggests, distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Safety experts classify distracted driving into three, distinct categories:
Manual distractions – Any activity that requires the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel. For example, adjusting the radio in the car or eating a sandwich.
Visual distractions – Any activity that requires the driver to look away from the road. For example, looking at a text message on a phone.
Cognitive distractions – Any activity that requires the driver to think about something other than driving. For example, reading or writing a text message.
Road safety officials note that reading or writing a text message involves all three types of distractions. Not surprisingly, an estimated 27 percent of distracted driving accidents involve some form of cellphone use, whether it’s talking on a cellphone or dealing with a text message, according to a study conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC).
What to do if you get hit by a distracted driver
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you often have several options available to you after your crash:
Accept a settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Ask for more money and negotiate a better settlement offer.
File a lawsuit and seek financial compensation in court.
Whichever path you decide to pursue, an experienced car accident attorney can help you every step of the way.