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New Report Finds that Distracted Driving is a Factor in One Out of Every Ten Fatal Car Accidents

Over 65,000 people have lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents in the past two years alone. In many instances motor vehicle accident fatalities are caused, at least in part, by distracted driving.

Last month Erie Insurance Co. released figures, which estimated that distracted driving was a factor in one out of every ten motor vehicle accidents. These figures were based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a census of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that occur within the United States, in consultation with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The analysis took into account police reports for fatal motor vehicle accidents between 2010 and 2011. Police officers most often described distracted drivers as being, “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” However, the survey also revealed several specific types of distractions that were commonly occurring.

According to the survey, the top ten distractions causing fatal motor vehicle accidents are as follows:

  • 62 percent of distracted drivers were “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” For instance, they were daydreaming.
  • 12 percent of distracted drivers were using their cell phones— they were either talking, listening, texting, or dialing.
  • 7 percent of distracted drivers were distracted by a person, object, or event outside their vehicle, such as another accident on the roadway.
  • 5 percent of distracted drivers were distracted by other occupants within their vehicle. For instance, they may have turned towards the back seat to look at another passenger.
  • 2 percent of distracted drivers were using or reaching for a device such as, a navigation system.
  • 2 percent of distracted drivers were eating or drinking.
  • 2 percent of distracted drivers were adjusting the temperature or audiowithin their vehicle.
  • 1 percent of distracted drivers were adjusting other devices such as, the vehicle’s rearview mirror.
  • 1 percent of distracted drivers were distracted by a moving object within their vehicle such as, a pet.
  • 1 percent of distracted drivers were involved in a smoking related activityincluding, lighting a cigarette and putting ashes in the ashtray.

Because the survey relied on police reports, these numbers may in fact underestimate the prevalence of distracted driving. That’s because many drivers may not acknowledge that they were distracted while being questioned by a police officer at the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured or if your loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by distracted driving, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.