(PRWEB) April 11, 2013
A report released by the Erie Insurance Group of Erie, Pennsylvania and reported by the Bloomberg News on April 5, 2013 compiled statistics from national crash data from the years 2010 and 2011. The data, which came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, indicated that in one out of every ten car accidents that involved a fatality was attributed to driver distraction. In some cases that distraction was caused by text messaging, using the internet, or eating, but in over sixty percent of the occurrences the driver reported having been “lost in thought”, or daydreaming. Though the use of text-messaging has been generating a great deal of attention and concern, less than fifteen percent of car accidents involving a death were attributed to this particular distraction.
Distracted Driving Kills
Houston Car Crash Attorney Paul Danziger of Danziger & De Llano, a liability and personal injury firm based in the Houston area, says that the Erie Insurance Group report mirrors the firm’s experience with their clients. “In more cases than not we have found that the defendants in our Houston car accident cases have been distracted in one way or another. Though it is very difficult to get a defendant to admit to having been daydreaming, the evidence that we’ve been able to gather and that our expert witnesses have interpreted has pointed to their minds not having been on the most important task at hand, which was driving safely.” Danziger points to recommendations released by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, which encourages drivers to be mindful of the responsibility that driving entails, and to identify distractions to their driving and eliminate them.
The Foundation indicates on their website that drivers should, "Treat driving as a complicated task requiring your full attention." The website also stresses that drivers should, "Remember 20 complex decisions are needed for every mile you drive."
Lawsuits Filed Against Negligent, Distracted Drivers
The Erie Insurance Group report lists several different factors as frequent contributors to fatal accidents, and these distractions included eating, talking to a passenger in the car, rubbernecking, and pets. According to Bloomberg’s article, other insurance companies are engaged in efforts similar to Erie’s, with all aimed at curbing distracted driving. The costs involved in distracted driving accidents are difficult to estimate according to an article that appears on Bankrate.com, in large part because police don’t always track the causes of an accident unless it is fatal. But Paul Danziger of Danziger & De Llano says that even though the police don’t always gather this information, his firm’s investigators are able to uncover the information. “When we’ve been hired to represent the victim of an auto accident, distracted driving is one of the first things we look for these days as a root cause.”