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Studies Look into the Workings of Distracted-Driving Car Accidents in Massachusetts and Elsewhere

More and more studies are being done on the impact of distracted-driving car accidents in Boston and elsewhere. Paul Atchlety, an expert from Car Talk, recently calculated the consequences that the nation is seeing as a result of these types of accidents. He concluded that distracted drivers contribute to approximately 30 percent of all car accidents. As technology advances, more and more drivers are expected to navigate their way through the state with distractions consuming their focus.
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Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys understand just how costly distracted-driving accidents can be. According to the National Safety Council, each fatal accident results in a bill of about $1,130,000 per fatality. An accident resulting in injury costs about $61,600 for each person who is injured and an accident that results in property-damage costs about $7,500.

According to Distraction.gov, approximately 5,500 people were killed in traffic accidents in the United States that reported the involvement of a distracted driver in 2009. It is estimated that another 448,000 people were injured in these types of accidents. Distraction.gov has estimated that nearly 1,000 fatal distracted-driving accidents specifically reported the use of a cell phone as the main type of driver distraction. Cell phones contributed to nearly 20 percent of all distracted driving-related accidents. Drivers that are under the age of 20-years-old account for more than 15 percent of distraction-related accidents.

A number of recent studies that analyzed the effects and the consequences of distractions on drivers concluded that using a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle gives a driver the same reaction time of a driver that is legally drunk, with the blood alcohol concentration of .08. These studies have also concluded that a distracted driver is about four times as likely to get into a traffic accident that is serious enough to cause injury.

Driver distractions include more than just using a cell phone. Distractions can also include:

-Eating or drinking behind the wheel.

-Talking and interacting with other passengers.

-Grooming.

-Reading maps or operating GPD devices.

-Watching videos.

-Altering your radio system, MP3 player or CD player.

-Surfing the internet on hand-held devices.

To help combat the problems related to distracted-driving car accidents, the state of Massachusetts has enacted laws prohibiting some behavior by drivers. Under state law, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. All drivers have been banned from text messaging behind the wheel.

Drivers are asked to be cautious behind the wheel and to focus on the task at hand — driving — to avoid a potentially fatal accident. With conscious effort from drivers across the state, we can all do our part to help save lives on our roadways.

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident with a distracted driver in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Car Accident Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:

Car Talk Finds the Economic Cost of Distracted Driving, by Colin Bird, Chicago Tribune
More Blog Entries:

Elderly Drivers Face Heightened Risks for Car Accidents in Massachusetts, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 8, 2011

Another City rejects the use of Red-Light Cameras to Monitor Intersection Accidents in Massachusetts, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 3, 2011