Distracted driving increases crash severity

The dangers of texting and driving and other distractions is well-documented. This reckless behavior increases the risk of wrongful death in Ohio car crashes and throughout the United States. The severity of injuries in these crashes also depends on road design, according to a recent study by the Risk Institute of Ohio State University.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused nine percent of all fatal crashes in this country in 2016. This study was issued a day after an allegedly distracted motorist hit a group of bicyclists in Florida and caused one fatality and six injuries. Advocates criticize the federal government and the telecommunications industry of doing little to address this problem.

The study's researchers concluded that distracted driving increases the likelihood that a collision will cause death or serious injury, compared to other accidents. This risk is even greater if a crash is a rear-end collision or takes place in work zones or on interstate highways.

Roundabouts or rotaries, however, lower the risk of a distracted-driving accident and their severity. Drivers must pay attention when they drive around these configurations. Attention to road design and more targeted enforcement may also reduce distracted driving, according to the researchers.

Researchers in this study reviewed Department of Transportation records in Ohio for accidents occurring between 2013 and 2017. Their analysis concluded that distracted driving accounted for 48 percent of all accidents.

The number of distracted driving accidents increased in this country and in Ohio during that period. Younger drivers between 20 and 24-years-old have the highest percentage of accidents because of distracted driving and other causes, according to the researchers.

Those harmed by a distracted driver may be able to recover compensation for their losses. Yet, gaining evidence of distracted driving requires expertise. An attorney can seek this evidence and pursue a lawsuit against a negligent driver.

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