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Auto accidents caused by texting while driving are increasing

Iowa drivers who use their cell phones in the car should take notice of figures from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System indicating that from 2005 to 2010, the number of fatal accidents in which a pedestrian or bicyclist was killed by a distracted driver who was using a digital device increased by 50 percent. The increase may be related to the enhanced functionality and wide spread use of mobile technology. According to the study, the fatalities occurred as often during daylight hours as during the night and were often caused by texting.

There are three leading causes of distracted driving, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One is cognitive distraction, which is when the driver's mind is no longer focused on their driving and surrounding environment. Another type of distraction is visual, which refers to when drivers take their eyes off the road. Finally, there is manual distraction, which occurs when the driver has taken their hands off the wheel to reach for something in the car such as food or makeup.

Reports indicate that the NHTSA has taken the initiative with campaigns to raise public awareness and prohibit the use of cellphones for individuals operating vehicles. Although drunk driving remains the leading cause of fatal driver car accidents, statistics suggest that the rapid increase in distracted driving accidents may be cause for alarm.

Those who are injured in accidents caused by the actions of a distracted driver may be able to pursue compensation for damages. Working with a personal injury attorney, the victims of accidents involving distracted drivers may be able to build a case showing the other driver's liability, which could make them eligible to receive an award compensating them for expenses related to the accident.

Source: Medical Daily, "Distracted Drivers Cause Pedestrian Deaths To Rise 50% From Texting, Talking On Phone, Or Eating At The Wheel", Lecia Bushak, November 30, 2013

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