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No hindsight needed to know that distracted driving is dangerous

We frequently write about distracted driving on this blog, and with good reason: It is one of the most serious and common hazards on U.S. roads. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed each day and more than 1,153 people are injured in car accidents involving distracted driving.

Much of the time, texting and phone calls are to blame. But these are not the only sources of distraction. When news breaks of a serious or fatal distracted driving accident, we usually learn that the at-fault driver was doing something mundane in the moments leading up to it. Only in retrospect does the behavior seem dangerous and foolish.

A recent example from Michigan is a scenario that can and does happen everywhere across the country, including here in California. According to news sources, a 13-year-old boy was riding in a car with his older sister when they were struck in a distracted driving chain-reaction crash. The young teen was killed; his sister and several others were injured.

When questioned by police, the 40-year-old who caused the accident said that he had been simultaneously eating a sandwich and looking at his GPS. Because of this, he failed to notice that traffic in front of him had stopped.

Most people tend to overestimate their own multitasking abilities. As such, they believe that warnings about distracted driving don't really apply to them. In hindsight, this driver's behaviors were clearly dangerous, especially in combination. But at the time, he may have thought he was acting safely and reasonably.

No one wants to be part of a distracted driving story - regardless of whether they were the victim or the at-fault driver. Please make the simple choice to stay focused behind the wheel and encourage family and friends to do the same.

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