Driving Distraction: A Treacherous Driving Mistake

Based on the 2013 Traffic Safety Facts data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there is a decline in the number of fatal traffic crashes from the previous year – from 33,782 in 2012 to 32,719 in 2013. In fact, except for an increase in the number of those injured in distraction-affected crashes, all other 2013 statistical details, which include deaths and (all other) injuries due to accidents involving passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks), large trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians, indicate declines from 2012.

These declines definitely show that either the government or vehicle manufacturers, or both, is/are doing things that are perfectly right, such as the stricter implementation of road safety rules and/or the installation of the latest safety technologies in newly manufactured vehicles. However, with millions of cars and other types of vehicles still running on US roads and highways every day and the number of traffic accidents still running above five million every year, the task of keeping the number of road accidents to a minimum remains to be a huge challenge for the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Causes of traffic accidents that top the NHTSA list include drunk-driving, reckless driving, speeding, driver error and distracted driving. Distracted driving, in particular, refers to any type of activity or movement which would turn a person’s attention away from driving. Distractions endanger lives, be it of drivers’, passengers’, pedestrians’ or other motorists’. And unlike drunk-driving, overspeeding and reckless driving which only a few drivers may be guilty of, distracted driving can be everyone’s grave mistake, but one that is most unnoticed. Chances are, all have been guilty of allowing distractions to make them turn their eyes and focus away from the road or take a hand off the wheel.

Driving distractions has countless forms, like eating and/or drinking, talking to a passenger, reading a map, adjusting a radio or any other electronic gadget, grooming, lighting a cigarette, and so forth. The most alarming forms of distractions, which take drivers’ focus off of driving, however, are conversing with someone over the phone and texting.

The website DISTRACTION.GOV: Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving says that the average time that one’s eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds, the same length of time needed to drive through a football field at the speed of 55mph.

Often, a brief act of carelessness is all it takes for a tragic accident to occur and, once one occurs, its physical and emotional repercussions, as the Portale Law Firm website puts it, can be serious and long-lasting.

Though the injuries and the trauma resulting from the accident can never be erased, an injured victim may at least have the chance of being found eligible by a court to receive compensation from the guilty party. This compensation is intended to cover all the damages suffered by the victim, such as high cost of medical treatment and lost wages.

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