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Distracted driving accidents occur despite known danger

Technology is improving at an amazingly rapid rate. Take cellphones, for instance. Over the past 30 years, they have evolved from large, clunky objects that could only make phone calls, to machines that can text, email, take photos, access social media accounts, make purchases and so much more. They are wonderful, but they are distracting. And, while this distraction may not seem like such a big deal if you are safe inside your home, it can be a serious danger if you are trying to drive.

Residents of Florida may be concerned to hear that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety performed a study that showed a disturbing trend in distracted driving. Although approximately 88 percent of respondents reported that distracted driving poses a greater danger on the road than drunk driving, almost 50 percent of respondents reported talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel and 35 percent of respondents admitted to texting or emailing while driving.

This is concerning news since the AAA Foundation reported that motorists are four times more likely to cause an auto accident if they are talking on a cellphone while driving. And, motorists who are texting and driving are eight times more likely to cause an accident. According to federal statistics, distracted driving was a factor in 14 percent of motor vehicle accidents. However, AAA believes this number could be higher because it is not always easy to pinpoint distracted driving as the cause of an accident.

Sometimes, it may seem all too tempting to immediately reply when we hear that ding or feel a buzz indicating we just received a text message. However, taking one's eyes off the road for even a moment could cause a devastating car accident. Drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe and appropriate under the circumstances. And, if a person is texting and driving, then they are not upholding this duty.

While multitasking may be good in the workplace, it is not so good if one is driving. Distracted driving can cause innocent victims to be seriously injured or killed. So, if you're behind the wheel of a car and you get a text, wait until you get to your destination to check it, or pull over into a parking lot or somewhere safe if you think the text requires your immediate attention. Doing so could save lives.

Source: Fox 13, "AAA Study: Distracted driving is more dangerous than drunk driving," April 4, 2018

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