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Study Concludes Distracting Driving Becoming More Prevalent

by John Gomez | Last Updated: May 4, 2016
San Diego Car Accident Attorney

In recent years we have all heard or read stories about the risks and possible horrors associated with distracted driving.  With our advancement through the technological age, more and more potential distractions for motorists are now available.  What used to be a turn-dial radio and perhaps a snack has now become dashboard navigation, satellite radio programming and of course telephone and even texting capabilities.

While everyone would likely agree that distracted driving is not a good idea, the bottom line is that almost all of us engage in it at some point.  Locally, that means that every San Diego car accident attorney has taken a call from someone who has been harmed by a distracted driver.

But just how prevalent is distracted driving?  Millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns across the United States designed to alert the public to the dangers of distracted driving.  Laws have been enacted in different jurisdictions that can lead to harsh penalties for people who are caught driving while talking on cell phones or typing on hand-held devices.  Many would logically and reasonably think that all of this effort would bring down the number of distracted drivers who are out there at any given time.  Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case based on the results of a recently published study.

The Study: Distracted Driving Is Getting Worse

The study, a link to which can be found here, was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and appears on PNAS.org.  The researchers tracked more than 3,500 motorists who made use of in-vehicle cameras and sensors over a period of three years.  The study uncovered the following data when reviewing 905 car accidents that led either to property damage, physical injury or both:

  • Driver-related errors were present in nearly 90 percent of all of the accidents recorded.
  • Nearly 70 percent of the crashes caused by driver errors involved some sort of distraction.
  • The most common types of errors included:
    • General error
    • Driver impairment
    • Driver fatigue
    • Driver distraction

While these findings are troubling enough, corroborating research shows that the number of crashes involving distracted drivers, particularly those who were tapping on a hand-held device at the time, increased by a factor of nearly one-third between 2013 and 2014.

Common Types of Distracted Driving

According to the federal government, there are several types of driver distractions that are more common than others.  Examples of these distractions include:

  • Adjusting a radio or music player
  • Watching a video
  • Using a navigation system
  • Reading
  • Grooming
  • Talking to passengers
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking on a telephone
  • Texting

Distraction.gov, which is linked above, states that more than 3,000 people were killed and more than 400,000 injured in car accidents in the United States in 2014 where distracted drivers were involved.

What Now? Contact a San Diego Car Accident Attorney

As can be seen, even with these new laws in place and new data available, more people are still driving while distracted than in the recent past.  In California alone, more than 425,000 convictions for driving with hand-held devices were reported by the DMV in 2013.  That equates to more than 1,150 convictions every single calendar day, and those are just the people that were caught.

Aside from the laws that are in place, people who are seriously injured by a distracted driver or those who have lost a loved one for this reason need to contact a San Diego car accident attorney at the Gomez Trial Attorneys today to schedule a free initial consultation.

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to stand up for your legal rights.

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