Drivers Are Not Looking At Road More Than 50% of Time
A new study has concluded what all of us should know by now: texting and calling while driving are way out of control. Not that it takes much imagination to figure out that the guy next to you staring down at his phone puts you at a high risk of being in a crash.
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute researchers studied various distractions to determine which conduct was riskiest. They analyzed millions of miles of driving information gathered during a three year period.
The researchers found that drivers engaged in distracting behavior during more than half of all trips which doubled their risk of an auto accident. In fact, of the more than 900 severe accidents the researchers analyzed, distractions played a role almost 70 percent of the time.
Dialing, Reading and Writing Are Riskiest Conduct
The researchers ranked the risks of driving distractions:
- Dialing a phone, which increased a driver’s chance of an accident by 12 times, was ranked the number one most dangerous distraction.
- Reading and writing increased chance of an auto crash by 10 times.
- Reaching to pick up an item, excluding a cell phone, increased risk of crashing by nine times.
- Texting resulted in a six times increase in risk of a wreck.
- Reaching for a cell phone increased the risk by almost five times.
- Browsing the Internet and reading email nearly tripled a driver’s chance of crashing.
It Can Wait
The National Safety Council has shown that we Americans have experienced a huge eight percent increase in traffic fatalities last years. This is the largest year-to-year increase in 50 years.
Last year, there were over 100,000 distracted driving crashes here in Texas, tragically resulting in 483 deaths and more than 3,000 severe injuries. Not surprisingly, the death toll from distracted driving crashes was highest in the 16 to 24 year old age bracket. But not just young people engage in this dangerous behavior; 45 percent of Texas drivers admitted to cell phone use while driving, despite the fact that 83 percent of them agreed that talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel is dangerous.
But Intoxication is Worse Than Any Distraction
However these precarious distractions paled in comparison to the effect of drugs and alcohol on accident risks. Drivers who are impaired by drugs and alcohol are 36 times more likely to crash than sober drivers. Why would anyone would accept those terrifying odds?
Driver’s Emotional State Also Affects Driving
Researchers further determined that a driver’s emotional state affects his or her accident risks. A driver who is visibly angry or crying while behind the wheel is at as great a risk as the second ranked distraction, reading and writing — 10 times the chance of crashing.
People who are upset should take a few moments to calm down before climbing behind the wheel. The driver should pull to a safe location and take a few breaths if something upsetting happens during the course of a trip.
Proving Negligent Behavior in a Car Or Truck Accident Case
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