Distracted Drivers Cause Fatal Accidents
More fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents are caused by distracted driving
According to a new study, drivers and passengers are not the only ones
that are increasingly facing the risk of death from someone else's
distracted driving. The study, conducted by the University of Nebraska
Medical Center, found that distracted drivers are becoming a more prevalent
cause of fatalities among pedestrians and bicyclists as well.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis
Reporting System, a records repository of pedestrian and
bicycle accidents that resulted in the death on at least one person involved. The researchers
wanted to determine to what degree distracted driving is responsible for
pedestrian and bicycling fatalities. As a result, the research focused
on accidents that occurred between 2005 and 2010 where the accident report
indicated that the driver of the vehicle was using a cellphone, GPS system,
computer, or two-way radio just before the accident.
Having analyzed the data from this time period, it was found that distracted
driving is increasingly causing fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
Specifically the study found:
The number of fatal
pedestrian accidents caused by distracted drivers per 10 billion miles traveled (VMT) increased
to 24.6 in 2010 from 18.7 in 2005.
- Fatal bicycle accidents caused by distracted drivers per 10 million VMT
also increased during this period, from 116.1 in 2005 to 168.6 in 2010.
- Cellphones alone accounted for 18.6 of fatal bicycle/pedestrian accidents.
- Fatal pedestrian and bicycle accidents comprise about 10 percent of the
total number of deaths caused by distracted driving.
- Most pedestrians/bicyclists that were killed were males under 65 years
old. Most fatalities occurred at night or when the pedestrian/bicyclist
was not traveling across a crosswalk.
The dangers of distracted driving are well known in California. As a result,
the legislature has passed laws banning the use of handheld cellphones
and the sending, reading and composing of text messages while driving.
Violators are subject to a fine for each offense. Despite the law, many
Californians apparently cannot resist the temptation to stay connected,
putting pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers at a needless risk of harm.
When a car strikes a pedestrian or bicycle, the aftermath can be catastrophic.
Due to the car's overwhelming size and weight, there is a greater
risk of a fatality than in most other types of accidents. Pedestrian and
bicyclists that manage to survive are often left with serious injuries
such as traumatic brain injury, severe lacerations, broken bones, internal
bleeding or spinal cord injury, requiring surgery and extensive treatment
Fortunately, under California law, pedestrians or bicyclists that are injured
because of a distracted driver have the right to seek compensation for
their injuries. Additionally, family members may seek compensation for
the lost of their loved one in such a situation by filing a wrongful death
lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of a
driver's negligence, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise
you further on your right to compensation and work to hold the responsible