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Too many car accidents are caused by distracted driving

Since cars have been around, people behind the wheel have been taking their attention off the roads. Now that nearly everyone has a cell phone, the instances of distracted driving have increased dramatically. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that nearly 80 percent of all car accidents can be attributed — at least to some degree — to distractions.

Texting and driving has become a problem here in California and across the country. On average, it takes as long as five seconds to read a text. During that time, the driver’s eyes are not on the road. If the vehicle is traveling at 55 mph, it could travel up to the length of a football field in that time. The traffic pattern can change in that time and distance, and previously absent obstacles can also arise. If the driver is not paying attention, an accident could easily occur.

In addition to the use of cell phones and other electronic devices, the OTS recommends that drivers refrain from eating or drinking, grooming, or reading while driving. Even hands-free devices are no guarantee that a driver’s attention will be focused on the road. It takes more than eyes to pay attention. Talking on a hands-free device or even to passengers can cause a driver to get distracted. Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention should not be performed behind the wheel.

Victims of car accidents involving distracted driving, or the families of those who perished in those accidents, retain the right to file civil actions against the party or parties believed to be responsible. Evidence gathered from an investigation into the crash could establish that the negligence of another party led to the injuries suffered, fatal or otherwise. If the court rules that is what occurred, it might consider an award of damages that could help with the financial losses that inevitably accompany accidents caused by inattentive drivers.

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