MELVILLE, N.Y. – For the second straight year, motor vehicle fatalities spiked on U.S. roads and the number is estimated to reach over 40,000, which would be the most in nearly 10 years. The accident rate is skyrocketing despite many safety improvements and campaigns that are supposed to reduce the risk to drivers and passengers.
Experts say Americans are simply driving more. We even set a new record for most miles driven in a single year: 3.2 trillion miles. But new data suggests something else may be at play, since the ratio of accidents to miles driven also rose.
Drivers have some nasty habits.
Distracted driving is considered an “epidemic” by many highway safety advocates, and what’s worse: most drivers know it’s dangerous, but many still text or browse the internet while they’re behind the wheel.
Smartphones aside, drivers have many other bad habits that fall into the category of ‘distracted driving.’ According to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences, nearly 40 percent of all crashes would have been avoided if the driver wasn’t distracted.
Aside from drinking and driving, researchers pinpointed five other extremely risky scenarios that often cause car crashes:
- Reaching for an object. This is usually the first mistake drivers make before they blatantly ignore the law and begin texting or surfing the web while they have their foot on the gas. But reaching for an object is a distraction itself – and many times, drivers are reaching for something other than their handheld devices. Reaching for something in your car increases the odds of a crash by up to 9 times.
- Using touch-screens. Many cars are now equipped with touch-screen menus and navigation. According to the study, drivers using these built-in devices increase their crash risk more than 4 times. Some drivers have become pros at using those touch-screens, but researchers warn that adds to the problem: in this case, practice doesn’t make perfect – it only creates a false sense of security.
- Operating the radio. This is one of the oldest distractions in the book. A driver toying with the radio dial doubles their crash risk. The odds get even greater when there’s an MP3 player present, like an iPod or the music player on your smartphone.
- Texting. There’s a reason most states have banned this action. We all know it’s dangerous, but around 40 percent of drivers ignore texting and driving laws, according to polls. It increases a driver’s crash risk by over 6 times, but surprisingly, it’s not the worst thing drivers have been guilty of.
- Dialing a number. Simply inputting numbers to make a call is the most disorienting form of distraction, researchers found. Dialing the 10 or more digits on any phone increases a driver’s crash risk by over 12 times. Many cars today have hands-free technology, but experts discovered this “safety” feature makes very little impact. Whether hand-held or hands-free, cell phone use was a factor in 26 percent of all car accidents in 2014.
WHEN DISTRACTIONS IMPACT FAMILIES
A distracted driver is not only a risk to themselves – they’re also a risk to every other driver on the road. Distractions are at play in millions of car crashes every year, many of which occur on Long Island roads.
When victims are injured by a negligent driver, proving a distraction was a factor can be difficult. With a strong legal team in your corner, a legal investigation can help uncover some of these facts and potentially maximize the value of a personal injury claim.
The Long Island car accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes have decades of combined experience gathering the facts, and preparing cases for trial. While other law firms may be hoping for a quick settlement, an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer understands that going to court can help victims get the best result possible.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, the Long Island car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes can help. Call one of our experienced attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888