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On 11/5/20, the Iowa Association for Justice (f/k/a the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association) named Russ Hixson, of Hixson & Brown, the Outstanding Member Award recipient for 2020.

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Smartphones may not be the biggest threat to drivers

Iowa residents may believe that their smartphones are the greatest impediment to driving safely. However, letting their minds wander while behind the wheel could actually be the greater danger. Getting lost in thought is believed to be a natural reaction to performing a mundane task. It is also believed that the advent of self-driving cars might not do much at first to decreased the rates of distracted driving.

To determine how dangerous different types of distracted driving can be, Erie Insurance did an analysis of 172,000 traffic deaths over the past five years. It obtained data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and used it to determine that roughly 10 percent of those deaths were attributed to distracted driving. It then determined that of those deaths, 61 percent were caused by daydreaming drivers.

Smartphones only accounted for 14 percent of such deaths. However, attention is generally paid to the danger of smartphones in the form of government investigations and public service announcements. Companies have even tried to alter how phones work inside of a moving vehicle. General Motors and Subuaru are trying to reduce the rates of distracted driving by installing eye-tracking software in their vehicles to keep drivers alert even when the car is controlling itself.

Individuals who are the victims of car accidents involving distracted drivers could experience significant injuries. These injuries could alter their lives in both the short and long-term. Those who are unable to work may be entitled to compensation for lost wages or lost future earnings. An attorney may use physical evidence at the accident scene as well as witness testimony to establish that a driver was acting in a negligent manner when a crash occurred.

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