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Distracted driving statistics show significance of U.S. problem

Nebraska readers might be interested in some distracted driving statistics that have been highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On an average day in the U.S., for example, nine people are killed and more than 1,150 injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Distracted driving can involve three distinct types of activities. Manual distraction involves the taking the driver's hands from the steering wheel, cognitive distraction is about taking the driver's mind off of the act of driving and visual distraction occurs when the driver's eyes are pulled away from the road. Eating, using a cellphone and texting are common examples of activities connected with distracted driving. Texting combines all three types of distraction, and is thus especially dangerous while driving.

More than 3,300 people died and more than 420,000 were injured in distracted driving car accidents around the country during 2012. There is some evidence that it is a larger problem in the U.S. than in other parts of the world. According to a CDC study, in 2011, 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 said they had talked on a cellphone while driving in the 30 days prior to the survey. European numbers were lower, ranging from 21 percent in the United Kingdom to 59 percent in Portugal.

Those who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver may be entitled to compensation for the costs of medical care, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. An attorney can be of assistance to an injured client by examining the facts of the case and attempting to negotiate settlement with insurers or by pursuing litigation.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving", Oct. 10, 2014

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