When you get behind the wheel, do you generally focus your attention on the road or do you attempt to complete other tasks simultaneously? Do you ever use your cellphone or another electronic device while on the road?
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, a significant number of motorists are distracted by electronic devices while behind the wheel. The researchers examined the actions of 7,800 motorists to determine how many were driving while distracted. Of the motorists observed, 8 percent were using some type of electronic gadget while they were driving.
The researchers also found that of the drivers who were distracted, many were using a handheld cellphone while driving. In total, 3.4 percent of the motorists observed by the researchers were using a handheld cellphone while behind the wheel.
In addition, about half of the distracted drivers were observed texting while they were driving. Texting is of particular concern to many law enforcement officers as it has been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident. In fact, individuals who text while behind the wheel are 23 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than those who are not distracted.
Avoid serious distracted driving accidents in Minnesota
The danger of distracted driving accidents has led many states to enact laws prohibiting certain types of dangerous behaviors. Minnesota is no exception.
In Minnesota, all motorists are prohibited from texting while behind the wheel. In addition, both bus drivers and novice drivers are banned from using any type of cellphone – including those with hands-free capabilities – while behind the wheel.
These laws are meant to reduce the number of motor vehicle collisions caused by distracted drivers every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,331 individuals died in the United States in 2011 as a result of distracted driving accidents. In addition, another 387,000 people across the country suffered personal injuries in car wrecks caused by distracted drivers that year. In total, distracted drivers are considered responsible for 10 percent of all accidents that lead to personal injuries in the U.S.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver in Minnesota, consider your options to recover damages to cover the harm caused. In such situations, seeking the counsel of a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.