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Distracted drivers pushing personal injury rates to new heights

Think distracted driving deaths are dropping in New Jersey and other states because of regulations designed to protect motorists? Not so fast - those improvements were seen during the early years of distracted driving litigation, but new statistics show that personal injury from this dangerous practice is back on the rise. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that about 25 percent of crashes nationwide were attributable to distracted driving.

Further, the total number of crashes on American roads has risen dramatically. Analyses for the most recent statistical years show that 37,744 motor vehicle accident facilities occurred in 2015, compared to 35,092 in 2014. This is the largest one-year increase since 1966, according to federal officials. What is to blame? Although we are not entirely sure about the driving force behind these increases, most experts surmise that distracted motor vehicle operators are pushing the massive increase.

We often think of distracted driving with regards to technology. Although it is true that the phone can be a big factor in distracted-driving crashes, the fact is that a lot of other problems can also arise. Drivers can be distracted by children in the backseat, applying makeup, eating food, changing the radio station, or even just by daydreaming. Drivers are increasingly trying to keep their schedules on-track by multi-tasking behind the wheel - the ubiquity of "dashboard meetings" in the executive community is evidence of this phenomenon.

No matter what, distracted drivers cause more car accidents than their more attentive counterparts. These drivers should be held accountable for their poor decision-making through financial consequences. Victims who have been harmed by distracted driving accidents deserve compensation for their medical, psychological, social, and financial hardships.

Source: Idaho Statesman, "Are we dying from distraction? Traffic fatalities are back on the rise," Elke Shaw-Tulloch, Feb. 26, 2017

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